Photo by Elaine Rackley: Locust Grove Masonic Lodge # 573 presented the city’s former mayor, Lorene Lindsey, with flowers and a proclamation during her retirement party, Friday. Lindsey retired as mayor in December.
Locust Grove Councilwoman Francis Ward recalled her first encounter, in 1981, with former Locust Grove mayor, Lorene Lindsey.
“She said, ‘The only person whose feet were in concrete was me,’” said Ward, during a retirement party for the outgoing city leader, Friday, that included city and county officials, as well as business and civic leaders. The party was held at the Locust Grove Event Center.
After serving as mayor for more than a decade, Lindsey, 89, did not seek re-election last November. She won her first mayoral race in 1999.
“Yesterday morning was the first time I woke up and didn’t have to check my schedule,” Lindsey told a standing-room-only crowd that jammed the event center to say good-bye.
“Someone asked me what will I do [after retirement]. I said, ‘I will do as I please.’ I have enjoyed every minute of being the mayor of Locust Grove. We’ve got wonderful employees and citizens in our city.”
The former mayor said she was surprised when she received proclamations and awards during the celebration. “I was never in this for the money,” said Lindsey. “I came from a very poor background, and I swore if I ever made good, I would share my wealth.”
Several officials offered remarks about Lindsey and her tenure as mayor. City employees presented her with a computer. Locust Grove Masonic Lodge #573, honored her with a proclamation and flowers.
“In 1990, I met her,” said Noble Franklin Cochran, of the lodge. He said Lindsey was the first mayor to allow the lodge to solicit money for the Henry County Therapeutic Center (now known as the Henry County Special Olympics.)
“We felt good about that,” added Noble Robert Barber.
“She allowed us, the first black Shriner Temple # 7, of Locust Grove, to be able to solicit in the community,” interjected Noble Marcus Jones.
Lindsey was the first mayor to invite the lodge to participate in the city’s parades, in the mid-1990s, added Jones.
Lindsey has served on numerous boards, committees and programs, including the Atlanta Regional Commission's Aging Task Force, the Council on Aging, and Surplus Food Distribution.
The city's population more than doubled during her tenure, growing from 2,200 residents, to 5,500.
"She has been crucial in shaping the modern City of Locust Grove," said to Tim Young, director of Community Development. In 1999, the city was only 2.2 square miles. "In the past decade, it has grown nearly 500 percent, to 10.8 square miles."