Monday marks the end of an era in Fulton. Jimmy Kendrick is walking away from public service. He served Fulton as mayor since the day he was appointed to the position in July 2011.
A member of the Casterline or Cole family has led Fulton, primarily, since the town was formed, with the exception of Kendrick’s nine-year run, and one term by Nancy Arispe.
Another member of the Cole family, Kelli, the wife of former mayor Russel Cole and daughter-in-law of the late Les “Googles” Cole, will take the reins of the town Monday when she is sworn in as mayor. She ran unopposed in the last election. Kendrick chose not to seek reelection.
Aransas County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills presented a proclamation to Kendrick at the commissioners’ court meeting Monday, May 11, recognizing the mayor’s service to not only Fulton residents, but Aransas County residents, as well.
I was glad to see the judge and the court recognize Kendrick for his efforts, and it was nice to see Rockport Mayor Pat Rios at the meeting to show his support, as well.
The Town of Fulton is a relative newcomer on the block, when compared to Aransas County and the City of Rockport, but the events of the past 32 months forged a partnership between the three entities like I haven’t seen in the 36-plus years I’ve had the privilege of publishing this newspaper.
If I had to describe Kendrick in one word … well, I can’t.
Some words that come to mind are passionate, emotional, and yes, even hard headed.
When one serves as the top elected official of a governmental entity, he or she doesn’t always leave a legacy of service.
Kendrick’s service to Fulton was like the service of his predecessors in many ways, but the one big thing that sets him apart from the others is a date in our history – Aug. 25, 2017.
Kendrick’s fiery and emotional nature came alive after Hurricane Harvey.
I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t know what all went on behind closed doors, but I heard quite a few stories about his passion.
He never, at any time, let the Town of Fulton be pushed aside in the minds on local residents, state officials, and yes, even those biggies at the national level.
I first ran into Kendrick when he was a trainer at Rockport-Fulton High School. He was also the head of transportation for the ACISD for a while, and he held several other jobs in the area.
When I first met him, I have to admit, the stories he shared about his life, whom he rubbed elbows with, etc. seemed a little farfetched … but I quickly learned they were true.
I always enjoyed his recollection of events because so many of them revolved around sports, and more specifically around the old Southwest Conference.
Even this Aggie could talk with and understand (but not outtalk) the Razorback-loving man with the big smile.
Kendrick did things differently than most people, but he always seemed to get results.
Nothing says that more than the shiny new Fulton Convention Center – Paws and Taws. It is a testament to his tenacity and his endearing desire to make sure Fulton was not forgotten in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
His impassioned testimony before the powers that be at the state and national level, and phone calls and letters to the same, albeit not always necessarily politically correct, got the attention of elected officials and bureaucratic operatives at both levels.
You did a good job Jimmy, and Fulton residents should forever be indebted to your leadership - especially after Harvey.
Enjoy your well-deserved rest.
Until next week, have a good week, and encourage our elected leaders to continue to work together in the spirit of cooperation we saw after the storm.
Mike Probst can be reached at email@example.com.