Ivor mayor wins Community Builders Award
Published 1:04 pm Wednesday, August 21, 2019
By MERLE MONAHAN/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Ivor Mayor Tara Kea was the recipient last Thursday night of the Community Builder’s Award given annually by the Ivor Masonic Lodge No. 291 for outstanding service to the community.
Presented to Kea by Merrell Carr, a Past Master of the Ivor Lodge, Carr read comments from the document: “This award is given, and heartfelt gratitude is expressed for significant efforts towards making the community a better place in which to live.”
In congratulating the new mayor, Carr revealed one of her most important accomplishments.
“There was some turmoil in the town government,” he said. “But just half-way through her first term, she has already gotten us back on track.
“We recognize and appreciate her hard work,” he added.
Kea, who was elected mayor through a write-in vote, said in accepting her award, “I am extremely honored and humbled to be chosen for this award, but I most definitely did not do all the things attributed to me on my own. I had an above-average support team!”
She cited several people who had helped her during her introduction to Ivor’s town government: A former mayor, former town clerk, several former town councilmen and many others “who have poured their hearts and souls into this town.”
Speaking of commitment to the town, members of the Kea family have served Ivor for generations. Starting with great-grandmother Sarah on council, there was her son, Peyton, who served as mayor for 20 years. Then Peyton’s daughter-in-law on council; son Paul on council; Paul’s son Paul on council; and Peyton’s granddaughter-in-law, Tara, the current mayor.
Serving as mayor is not Kea’s only contribution to the town, however. In 2008, she realized that the town had no significant activity for the town youth.
“It was my “brainchild” to start a youth baseball league,” Kea said, “but from then on, I had lots of help getting it off the ground.”
She noted that a great many other hands were there to keep it going and still are.
Kea serves as the Ivor Community Athletic Association’s president even today. Ironically, her co-worker, who serves as treasurer of the ICA, became the new town clerk.
“A godsend,” says Kea. “She is perfect for the job.”
A Sedley native, Kea and her husband, Trey, and their two young sons, Peyton and Forrest, have lived in Ivor for years, and are involved in many of the town’s activities, fire department, rescue squad, etc. For this reason, Kea thought it would be good to bring the town residents together on July 4.
And a good thing it was, she said.
“We had not had a 4th celebration for more than 20 years, when Trey’s grandfather was mayor.”
“We estimated there were as many as 1,000 people here,” she went on. “The people loved it — I’ve had nothing but good comments since then. Everybody, I mean everybody was willing to help. Town employees and non-employees alike. There were volunteers everywhere,” she said.
In fact, for three days prior to the event, it was not unusual to see councilmen on top of ladders hanging bunting from the top of windows, or the mayor helping a visiting musician untangle a maze of wires attached to the sound equipment.
“Even the kids worked with us,” she said with a smile, “although, I can’t say for sure they’ll be back next year. There were about 10 or 12 that I worked pretty hard.
As for the Ivor Masonic Award, Carr said, “We are proud to present this award to Mayor Kea. I don’t know anyone more deserving.”