City Manager Brian Muenger presented Preuitt with a proclamation and thanked him for his years of service to the airport, the city and the state.
“It was a pleasure to be able to serve for 28 years, in Montgomery and here in Talladega as probate judge,” Preuitt said. “Your tax money went off to Montgomery, and all I did was try and bring some of it back to the three counties I served. You were loyal and stood by my side through the years and I thank you. God bless you.”
Airport board Chairman Ray Miller then told a couple of stories demonstrating how Preuitt’s influence had helped the airport.
“You know,” Miller said, “an airport is not an exciting place. It’s either real busy or real dead. Where we are now used to look like a jungle until Sen. Preuitt and then-Gov. (Bob) Riley rode past when they were looking at widening Ashland Highway. Preuitt said to the governor that we need to clean that up, and it got done. Another time, Gov. Riley was going to take away money from the state Aviation Council. I went down to Montgomery with Fred Sinkton, who was a highway director, and we talked to Sen. Preuitt. He asked us to get the bill number and the sponsor. Roger Bedford was sponsoring it. The next day, we went to the committee meeting. Preuitt went up to Bedford and whispered something in his ear. On his way out of the room, he told us we didn’t have anything to worry about. The bill was dead.
“Our community is better for Jim and Rona Preuitt being part of it. They’re always there for everyone. When there is a family tragedy, they will be the first to reach out. And for the good times, too. That’s the true definition of a friend. Jim and Rona have been friends to all of us, and this is a small token of our appreciation.”
Following the ceremony, the airport board had a brief meeting. During the meeting, the board:
• Adopted changes recommended by an audit of Miller’s traveling expenses, including adoption of federal fuel reimbursements and allowing prior approval of travel when possible by the chairman and/or the board itself.
• Sent airport specifications to UPS as requested.
• Asked for more information about a helicopter-based business considering locating on board property.
• Reduced the rent for a struggling tenant from $7,500 per race to $5,000 per race, strictly on a temporary basis.
• Discussed holding an open house.
• Authorized Miller, board engineer Ken Gilbert and any other board members interested to travel to the FAA Regional Office in Jackson, Miss.
Contact Chris Norwood at email@example.com.