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Obion Co. commissioner comments on personal history

Obion Co. commissioner comments on personal history

Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 8:46 am

Obion County Commissioner Ralph Puckett of South Fulton paused a moment Monday afternoon to comment on personal history. With just a few words, he addressed past, present and future. “I’ve had a good life. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done,” he said. “I’m enjoying life, doing county work. As long as I can provide good service to the people at a low tax dollar rate, that’s what I want to do.” What Puckett has done is serve as a county commissioner 42 years and chairman of the Obion County Commission 17 years. In his time he has also been a sailor in wartime, a high school teacher, a businessman and South Fulton city judge. Puckett is married to the former Shirley Sloan of Gates. In June 2009, they will observe their 52nd wedding anniversary. The Puckett have two daughters — Deborah Puckett of Nashville, an administrative assistant to the state librarian, and Diana Puckett of Dresden, a registered dental assistant. Honored That the people returned him to office again and again is a testament to his performance and value as an elected official. And his deeds have not gone unnoticed by others. The Tennessee County Services Association recently named him recipient of the Robert M. Wormsley Outstanding County Official of the Year award. It was presented to him during the association’s annual Fall Conference and Trade Show, held in Shelby County. The award is named after Robert M. “Bob” Wormsley, a former TCSA executive director with more than 40 years’ service to counties statewide. “The award honors someone who epitomizes true public service and statesmanship,” said Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters. In the 1990s, Puckett served as president of the Tennessee County Commissioners Association, an affiliate of TCSA. He visited all 95 counties in the state on his own time because of his appreciation of their history and his interest in issues that affect the counties. Background Puckett served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict 1952-55. As a sailor aboard the USS Winston, an amphibious cargo ship, he was in charge of the ship’s post office. After honorable discharge from the Navy, Puckett enrolled at Murray State University, where he graduated in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts. He taught at Fulton High School two years and then went into business, establishing Puckett Oil Co. in South Fulton. He sold the business in 2000. With pride Puckett said the thing he’s proud of in his years as a county commissioner is the county school system and county roads — new school facilities and 700 miles of paved roads. “We have done that without raising property taxes the last 16 years,” he said. “I’m very proud of that. We have one of the best school systems in the state and some of the best roads in the state. And we’ve never had to borrow any money to do a road.”wcp 12-9-08

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