Council proclaims West day

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By Jennifer Garcia

Thoughtful words were plentiful and a heartfelt outpouring of good wishes for a speedy recovery were heard in council chambers Tuesday during the recognition and proclamation of the service given to the county by former Councilor Jim West.

“This is a proclamation that I read with a heavy heart,” Council Chairman Jim Hall said. “Jim couldn’t be here because he’s not feeling well,” he continued. He also said that West told him that he’d watch the meeting from home.

Hall read the proclamation and announced Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008, to be Jim West Day in Los Alamos County as a way of saying thank you “to Jim in honor of his thousands of hours of service to our community through the years. We applaud his contributions and want Jim to know that he leaves behind a seat at the Council dais that will be very difficult for us to fill in the coming days with anyone as passionate – and compassionate – as Jim. He will be sorely missed by all of us.” Hall said that he is proud to have served with West.

Councilor-elect Mike Wismer addressed West by saying, “I know you’re watching out there. Jim West was the original cowboy version of Get ‘R’ Done. He was a Marine, so Semper Fi. He’s an art aficionado. When he saw the sculpture in front of the Hilltop House Hotel, he said, ‘what is it?’ ” Wismer joked.

He went on to say that West is never a victim of analysis paralysis and that he has little respect for manure – political or otherwise.

“He claims to be an Oklahoma boy, but you’re really a Los Alamos treasure,” Wismer said.

Councilor Michael Wheeler expressed his feelings by saying, “I don’t think words will describe the impact Jim has had on this community. He was responsible for making this community an independent community that could stand on it’s own. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us.”

Councilor Fran Berting said Wismer’s comments were hard to top. “He’s (West) put Los Alamos in Northern New Mexico like no one else has. We’re more than an offshoot of the lab,” she said.

  Councilor Nona Bowman wished West a speedy recovery. “Go and get well and come back and serve the community,” she said.

Councilor Ken Milder also sent well wishes West’s way. “Get well. Mike Wismer did a wonderful job of speaking. Through Jim’s work, the stature of Los Alamos throughout the state has risen tremendously. He will be sorely missed. I don’t know who can pick up his banner on this council,” he said.

“You personify the citizen public servant,” Vice Chairman Robert Gibson said. “It’s been a privilege, an inspiration and a joy working with you.”

Councilor elect Sharon Stover said, “All the folks at the New Mexico Association of Counties want to give you a big hug. Get well, get better and come back.”

Chief Deputy Clerk Sheryl Nichols from the County Clerk’s office said that the staff there made West a card and signed it.

West’s seat will not be filled until after the New Year.Councilors decided during the meeting that they would leave the decision of appointing someone to the seat up to the new council.