Mayor Howard Shell named Citizen of the Year
Published 3:19 am Wednesday, February 2, 2005
By By Lee Weyhrich
The world of politics is full of secrets, but Atmore Mayor Howard Shell has been the subject of weeks of conspiracy.
"I think there were several of them (the staff members at city hall) that were in on it prior to the event, but I had no idea before hand," Shell said. "I don't know who to trust around here."
The event to which Shell was referring was his recognition as Citizen of the Year by the Atmore Chamber of Commerce at its annual banquet held last Thursday night. He was taken back by the honor and his staff's ability to keep the secret from him.
"I was really surprised and delighted by the honor; this award is something I will cherish for a long time," Shell said.
Atmore City Clerk Becca Smith has worked with Mayor Shell for 12 years and considers him a close friend. She believes he was well deserving of the award.
"I have gotten to know him as a boss, a leader and a friend," she said. "It is apparent in everything he does that Atmore is his No. 1 priority."
Some say Shell's top priority is what he calls Atmore's greatest asset; the people of Atmore.
"Mayor Shell's devotion to the citizens of Atmore during our recent ordeal with Hurricane Ivan has been remarkable," Community Development Coordinator and Building inspector Allen Nix said.
Shell was awarded Citizen of the Year for, among other things, getting Atmore back on its feet after Hurricane Ivan. His dedication and leadership before, during and after the powerful storm helped in the recovery process.
"Mayor Shell has over the last number of years made many contributions to the community in his capacity as mayor, but I think this past year with the hurricane he went above and beyond the call of duty," Chamber of Commerce Director Emilie Mims said.
Shell said that he was just part of a team of people committed to getting Atmore back on its feet after the storm.
"It was just a job we were all doing," Shell said.
Teamwork is very important to Mayor Shell. In his acceptance speech he credited the city council and the people of Atmore with his success. Revenue Officer Mary Carter is proud to be a member of his team.
"I was delighted to hear that Mayor Shell received this award." she said. "It is an honor to be part of his team."
Shell wished to thank the people that worked with him at city hall for all they had done despite their ability to keep him in the dark.
"I work with a very nice group of people and it's been a pleasure working with them," he said.
Shell credits a lot of his life success to his mother, Edna Shell, 93, who was on hand for the award ceremony. She embraced him with a huge hug after his acceptance speech.
"She thought it was just the grandest thing," Shell said. "Mothers are always proud and make you feel good all the time. She was very impressed with the whole affair."
Also on hand were his wife, Nanette; his daughter, Nancy Shell Fayard; his siblings, and a brother-in-law and sister-in-law.
Shell said he was completely surprised by the award and a little overwhelmed.
"I thought it was very nice and people were very gracious," he said. "It makes you grateful they appreciate the work you've done."
The mayor just wished to show his appreciation for the work everyone else has done since Hurricane Ivan.