Philippi City Council honored two of its residents for dedicating their lives to operating a florist shop in the city during its regular meeting on Tuesday.
Rusty and Kay Freeman were presented with the "Golden Award" in appreciation for 84 years of service to Philippi and Barbour County.
Speaking for council, Councilman Terrence Boyd said, "Mister and Mrs. Freeman, on behalf of Philippi Main Street and the Philippi Convention and Visitors' Bureau, we want to present you with this award and thank you for the over 84 years of service that you've given the citizens of Barbour County."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Anna Patrick
Philippi Councilman Terrence Boyd, right, presents Rusty and Kay Freeman with the ‘Golden Award’ during Tuesday’s Philippi City Council meeting.
"We want you to know that the city appreciates all the years that you have given," said Philippi City Manager Karen Weaver.
"We're quite honored," Kay Freeman said. "I was born and raised in Philippi. My husband was too."
Rusty Freeman said that in the early 1960s he was working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and his wife was a medical secretary in Arlington, Va., when a problem presented itself. Kay Freeman's father owned and operated the family business, Thornhill's Florist shop in north Philippi, and was nearing retirement. Thornhill's Florist had become a prominent business in Philippi since her grandfather established it in 1928.
The Freemans had a decision to make. They could continue with their life in Virginia or come home to Barbour County and take over the family floral shop. They chose the latter and have operated Thornhill's Florist since 1964.
To prepare for their horticultural obligations, Rusty Freeman attended a one-year program at the Dupage Horticultural School in West Chicago, Illinois.
"They've just contributed to our community so much through the years and we wanted them to know that they did make a difference," Weaver said.
After 84 years in business the Freemans officially closed Thornhill's Florist on March 30 and sold the location to the Petal Patch florist shop in May.
"The town has been our life. We've been here 48 years," Rusty Freeman said. While living and working in Philippi, Rusty Freeman served on Philippi City Council and Kay Freeman served on the Philippi Building Commission.
Since retiring the Freemans have enjoyed spending time with their family and watching their grandson play baseball.
In other business:
Four poles were broken in Mansfield during Friday's storm and the city purchased electrical poles from McFarland Cascade Lumber Company, based out of Grove City, Ohio. A total of 32 poles were purchased for $12,359.
Dean Springer, president of the Airport Authority, said, "It's all part of our extension that we're doing at the airport." Springer explained that utility lines are required to pass through the Prusas' property to run water from the new Cherry Hill water tank to the airport's facilities.