By ALICIA LEONARD
Sometimes a small group of people can keep a secret, or so retiring school board member Mark Davis found out between school business meetings the evening of Nov. 1, 2016.
Walton County School Board members and Walton School District administration, along with Davis’ family members threw a surprise celebration in honor of Davis and his 21 years of service as a board member to the district,, students and community.
Davis looked honestly shocked and humbled when brought into the room at the Florida State University (FSU)- themed celebration and the crowd that was gathered.
After being recognized for his work by Board Chair Jason Catalano, Davis spoke briefly about the last 21 years.
“I never meant to become a school board member,” Davis told the group. Wary of the position after hearing stories from family members and friends that had served, Davis said it was one specific day that changed his mind.
Visiting his brother Mike Davis, the then-principal of Paxton School, Davis walked with his brother into a locker room with about two inches of water on the floor, Davis recalled. “I asked if a pipe had burst or something happened before we got there and Mike said no, this is every day. I thought to myself that we could do better than this, our county could do better than this.”
Davis credited everyone he has worked with in the past and present as being the keys that helped the district come “light years” from where they were he told the group.
“I have been surrounded with very capable and amazing people. I have not accomplished anything by myself. Everything we have done has been because of people that cared and were good at their jobs. I’m really humbled that you all did this and I thank you,” he added, before diving into the celebration.
The district and board presented Davis with a plaque celebrating his 21 years of service, a stained glass lamp with his alma mater, FSU, and a large cake with the FSU logo, among other items.
Video of the celebration can be found on the Herald’s facebook page at www.facebook.com/DefuniakHeraldBeachBreeze.