LAKE WACCAMAW, NC (WECT) - Residents and town leaders in Lake Waccamaw hung a white ribbon on the front door of town hall Monday to remember commissioner Jimmy Stanley.
Stanley, who passed away on Saturday, grew up in Lake Waccamaw and worked in the town his entire life.
According to Mayor Daniel Hilburn, Stanley started with the fire department in the 1950s. He then worked on the planning board, followed by the board of commissioners, serving as a commissioner and mayor pro-tem.
Hilburn said Stanley was instrumental in reopening the fire department in 2014 after it briefly closed. Stanley was always the first to help anyone in the community, according to town leaders.
Hilburn grew up with Stanley as a father figure and served in the seat next to him on the board.
"Mr. Jimmy was like everybody's dad. He was always around and always wanted to help the community," Hilburn said.
"It didn't make any difference who it was. If he could help you, he would … always very civic minded … whenever you needed a helping hand he'd be the first one to try to help out," Hilburn said.
He said Stanley's years of experience offered something few others could.
"It was great to be able to talk with someone, especially in a small community like Lake Waccamaw, who has the insight of seeing the past and the changes," Hilburn said. "As we've gone through and as we addressed certain issues, he was able to give us great insight into the past, which was taking us into the future."
"He is one of those people that he's not the president of the United States. He is not the governor, but for this little town, he was very important," Lake Waccamaw fire chief Jerry Gore said.
Stanley's funeral is planned for Tuesday.
Neighboring fire departments are covering Lake Waccamaw's calls, and Town Hall will close at 2 p.m. so everyone can attend the funeral.