CITIZEN OF THE MONTH – SELECTED BY COUNCIL MEMBER DON RAMSEY: Council Member Don Ramsey selected the Citizen of the Month for January:
Council Member Ramsey stated that it was his privilege to present Mr. Jim Gibson as the Citizen of the Month for January 2018.
Jim didn’t grow up in McDowell County but was strongly rooted here by virtue of the fact that both of his parents grew up here, as did their parents. He always wanted to be a funeral director because of his admiration for his grandfather, Sig Westmoreland. In watching his grandfather kindly and compassionately help people through their loses, his desire to follow in Mr. Westmoreland’s footsteps matured and solidified. He came to Westmoreland Funeral Home 27 years ago and has loved continuing the tradition of serving our citizens through the losses of their loved ones, one of the most difficult experiences many of us face in our lifetimes.
Jim is also one of the strongest civic leaders in our community, having served as a board member of the McDowell Chamber of Commerce. Westmoreland Funeral home is the longest standing member of the chamber. During Jim’s tenure as a board member, he actively served in the capital campaign for the construction of the visitor’s center on the bypass and also in the setup and execution of the Mountain Glory Festival, two the chamber’s greatest accomplishments. The Marion Business Association has also been a receipt of Jim’s leadership and hard work as he served on that board for over 12 years.
Westmoreland Funeral Home, under Jim’s leadership, has served our community well over the years and has contributed in many ways such as paying 100% of the cost of the funeral of public of public servants who lost their lives in the line of duty. Jim has always supported our law enforcement, fire departments, EMS and Rescue Squad, along with the volunteers that make those departments. He has shown appreciation to them by hosting meals for them as well as beginning the tradition of the Westmoreland Home Labor day cookout, with special invitations to these public servants.
Jim and his family have financially contributed to many programs and nonprofits in our community. Hospice, 4H programs, our school system. The Sig Westmoreland Scholarship award is given annually to a deserving senior at McDowell High School. He carries on the tradition of giving that his grandfather started years ago. Jim goes about his professional life with a desire to help others, not expecting recognition or acknowledgement for what he does.
On one occasion, having learned of unmarked graves in the Morehead Cemetery, Westmoreland Funeral Home provide over twenty granite markers so final resting places could be identified.
Of course the most recent exciting service to our community is the partnership Jim entered into with the city government in the addition of one of the largest and most attractive parking lots in the city. This parking area is invaluable as our city host events such as Mountain glory, parades and other public gatherings down town.
Council Members, City staff and friends all shared kind words about Mr. Gibson and congratulated him on being selected as Citizen of the Month.