Pat Bell has been devoted for over three decades to improving and expanding Hurricane Shoals Park. Her work at the park, as well as her years of public and private service to Jackson County, was recognized Monday as the Hurricane Shoals Conference Center was renamed in her honor.
The sign in front of the building now reads “Pat Bell Conference Center” and a plaque honoring Bell is located at the entrance of the facility.
The announcement was made Monday at a surprise reception for Bell, who is retiring as chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commission. Bell previously served as a county commissioner, as well as a state representative and as the county extension agent.
County officials, former 4-H’ers and others gathered at the conference center Monday morning for the retirement reception. Jackson County Chamber of Commerce president Shane Short, former 4-H’ers Penny Gaultney and Wayne Reese and MainStreet Newspapers publisher Mike Buffington spoke on Bell’s service.
At the last BOC meeting of the year Monday night, commissioner Jody Thompson read a resolution honoring Bell. She was also presented with several gifts, including a shadow box containing the scissors she used at ribbon cuttings during her term and a framed map of the South Apple Valley Road project, which she pushed through due to safety concerns.
Rick Sanders and Cathy Robinson of the recreation department presented the shadow box and Don Clerici and Darrell Hampton presented the framed map.