by Kate Shunney
Former county commissioners, county employees and fellow elected officials spent the first part of the December 19 commission meeting honoring the work of Commissioner Bob Ford. The meeting was Ford’s last as an elected official. Ford served two terms as a County Commissioner – the first as a Democrat from 2000 to 2006, then as a Republican from 2012 through 2018.
He was characterized by speakers as a tenacious, hard-working elected official with a good working knowledge of state code and unshakeable priorities.
Ford has spearheaded efforts to improve the county’s emergency communications system –a high-dollar effort that he said was tough to work through at times. He also led the charge to raise the county’s Ambulance Fee, seeing reliable rescue service as one of the key priorities for a county commissioner.
Former commissioners Tommy Swaim and Brad Close said Ford worked hard behind the scenes to improve the county, and wasn’t stopped by difficulties or challenges.
Delegate Daryl Cowles remembered that Ford arranged a fundraising bullride to gather money for the Mountaineer Health Clinic in Paw Paw. Ford himself rode a rodeo bull to raise the money through sponsorships.
Ford said his aim in his second term was to finish projects left undone from his first term, including making and installing road signs throughout the county, and making sure first responders had good radio coverage on calls. He said he wanted to leave the county better than he found it, and felt he’d accomplished that goal.
Republican Sean Forney will fill the seat that Ford has held on the commission beginning today, with the first meeting of the 2019 County Commission.