Mayor Williams Receives Stevens Award
Mayor Ronnie Williams has been named the 2016 recipient of the James R. Stevens Service to Garner Award. The award is bestowed on citizens who have made substantial, outstanding contributions to Garner over a significant number of years, in keeping with the late Mr. Stevens’ tradition of service spanning decades.
Mayor Williams was selected by a panel of judges that included Town officials, a Garner Chamber of Commerce representative, a Stevens family member and other members of the community.
The mayor will be formally recognized at the Aug. 16 Town Council meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. in the training room of the new police station at 912 7th Ave. There will be a reception in the lobby of the temporary Town Hall at 914 7th Ave. from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The letter submitted with Mayor Williams’ nomination highlighted his leadership for over three decades as Garner has evolved from a sleepy, small town to a bustling, fast-growing community in one of the nation’s most dynamic regions. Mayor Williams served on the Town’s Board of Aldermen (later renamed the Town Council) from 1984 until 2005, when he was first elected mayor. He has served as mayor since then.
“In one capacity or another, Ronnie has been an integral part of the planning and implementation of many projects that have helped Garner grow from a town of less than 3,000 in the 1960s to the 33rd-largest municipality in the state of North Carolina with a population of over [28,000],” the nomination letter said.
The letter noted Mayor Williams’ role in helping to develop the Town’s stellar park system, its award-winning Garner Performing Arts Center and the heavily used Garner Senior Center, which has become a cornerstone of the community.
The letter also lauded Williams’ leadership in helping to develop Garner’s commercial tax base and in guiding the Town’s $35.7 million bond program that voters approved overwhelmingly in 2013.
The letter noted that Garner was designated an All-America City during the mayor’s tenure in 2013. In addition, it observed that Mayor Williams initiated the annual Martin Luther King, Jr., commemoration at Garner Performing Arts Center as well as an annual prayer breakfast.
As an elected official, Mayor Williams has represented Garner in a number of regional and statewide organizations including the N.C. League of Municipalities, the Triangle J Council of Governments, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) and the Wake County Mayor’s Association. He is a past chair of both CAMPO and the Mayor’s Association.
“During Ronnie’s tenure, Garner has become more visible not only in Wake County but also in the Triangle region. Garner is growing both in population and its tax base, as evidenced by new subdivisions, businesses, restaurants and the expansion of the White Oak shopping center,” the nomination letter said.
Mayor Williams was a member of the Garner Volunteer Fire Department from 1972 to 1976 and served as a volunteer emergency medical technician from 1976 to 1983. During those latter three years, he served as chief of Garner EMS.
The mayor is a member of Garner Masonic Lodge 701, American Legion Post 232, Garner VFW Post #10225 (lifetime member), Garner Civitan Club and Garner Shrine Club. He is a former deacon at Aversboro Road Baptist Church.
“No one loves serving Garner more than Ronnie Williams,” the nomination letter concluded. “And his record of service is ample evidence to support this nomination for the James R. Stevens Service
to Garner Award.”
A native and life-long resident of Garner, Mayor Williams graduated from Garner High School in 1966. After serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam in 1968-69, he went to work for the U.S. Postal Service for 36 years. He married Betsy Green in 1972. The couple have two grown sons and a grandchild.