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Citizen of the Year 2017 is Mr. Clarence Searight

Clarence Searight was employed with the City of Luverne for 34 years before retiring in 2016. Searight was presented the Citizen of the Year award by Chamber of Commerce President Donnie Nix.

Thursday night, the community of Crenshaw gathered at the Luverne United Methodist Church’s Dei Center to celebrate Clarence Searight, the 2017 Citizen of the Year.

“I thank each and every one of you for this opportunity. This is a great night, and it means a lot to me. I worked hard for 34 years,” Searight said.

“This is not only a community to me, but also like a family to me. I want to thank each and every one of you for all your prayers.”

Throughout the evening, residents of Crenshaw had the chance to mix and mingle with Searight and his family, as well as share memorable stories of his time with the city and their personal relationships with him.

Former teacher at Luverne Elementary Latosha Green spoke on how Searight and his wife had played such a large and inspirational role in not only her life but also the life of her daughter.

“Even though we are many different ages and have all kinds of jobs and interests, it is certain that we all have one thing in common: the man of the hour. He is known to my daughter and I as Uncle Clarence,” Green said.

“Uncle Clarence is a self-sacrificing man. He has become known as a person who gives unselfishly of his talents, time and energy to help others and to do for others. They took my daughter in and treated her like she was theirs. You are exceptional people; you are the most generous people I know. If anyone deserves thanks, you deserve it. You are a noble man.”

Joe Rex Sport, former Mayor of Luverne, also spoke of his time in and out of office with Searight.

“I had the opportunity to observe the work that went on in that department, and I know the work he did. I know how he felt about this city and how much he wanted to show off our city,” Sport said.

“It’s a sad state of affairs when someone retires. We certainly appreciate Clarence, we appreciate his family and we appreciate all those who’ve supported Clarence during his working years and in retirement.”

At the close of the evening, Charlie Sankey, Jr., pastor for Rockwest Baptist Church and guest speaker for the evening, shared his thoughts with the residents of Crenshaw about what it means to have a blessed progress.

“There are men that we stand on that have made great sacrifices through their experiences for us to enjoy what we enjoy today.

Several months ago the gate got dropped and Clarence was diagnosed with cancer. Look in your communities, look in our city, look in our county and encourage others to make some progress. And it all starts with God,” Sankey said.

Sankey’s talk focused on progress in Crenshaw County and how members of the community can come together to create more growth in the community.

“Preparation is just a piece of that progression. There are a lot of prepared people who don’t make progress because they don’t have the experience,” Sankey said.

Sankey told the audience that he believes the definition of progression is knowing where you are but also having goals to where you want to be.

“Those of us that are here tonight that enjoy the progression of our community, our schools, our towns, our cities and our counties better know that it’s not because of your experiences,” Sankey said.

“This night belongs to Clarence Searight. You are the epitome of what it means to be an influential person. You are a light and a beacon of hope to a lot of people.”