04/25/05 — OPINION: Good Folks

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OPINION: Good Folks

By Gene Price
Published in News on April 25, 2005 1:45 PM

That was a fitting memorial to the late Mayor Hal Plonk last week.

Goldsboro Councilman Bob Waller unveiled the 16-foot high, four-faced street clock in the center of the campus at Wayne Community College.

The clock was significant because not only was Hal Plonk a great lover of clocks — but also that both his father and grandfather were clock-makers.

The location was appropriate because Hal Plonk had been the director of the Goldsboro Industrial Education Center which evolved into what is now Wayne Community College.

Hal Plonk fit comfortably in the mold from which Goldsboro’s mayors have been cast for many decades.

The city’s mayors, to a person, have been people who loved and understood their city and all its people. The position, technically and theoretically, is a part-time job.

To people like Scott Berkeley, Tom Robinson, Tommy Gibson, Ben Strickland, Hal Plonk — and now Al King — it became virtually a full-time position.

It became far more than presiding over city council meetings and signing proclamations and cutting ribbons.

Our mayors have truly been ambassadors of goodwill to newcomers — whether individuals or corporations, they deliver welcome addresses for a myriad of public occasions. They represent the city at important functions at home and across the state and at military facilities in far away places.

Hal Plonk was blessed with an inexhaustible repertoire of humorous stories to offer on every occasion. And there was no lack of humor on the part of his predecessors and our present mayor, Al King.

But their greatest trait has been genuine warmth. To a person, our mayors have transmitted unmistakably the goodness and sincerity that down through the years have been the hallmark of Goldsboro, making it a special place to all its citizens and those who enter its portals.