Governor Beebe Returns to Celebrate Home in Region 8

December 13, 2007 - Posted at 4:19 p.m. CDT

NEWPORT, AR -- From a small town in Jackson County to the governor's mansion, it's a big step for anybody.

Thursday Governor Mike Beebe returned home to Amagon for a special occasion. Beebe was tracing his roots in Region 8, beginning with a stop at his old high school in Newport. School officials and old friend Bill Keedy greeted the politician who graduated from NHS.

Beebe dropped in on several classes then moved on up the road to his home town of Amagon, for a special historical day celebration.

"It's just like history, it's like a space ship going up, to me it's like we've made history in Amagon today," laughed mayor Randal Willard.

Part of the historical event was the unveiling of signs along Highway 14.  One sign was displayed on the east side of town and the other at the community center.

Governor Beebe remarked that in spite of Amagon being a small town, a recent charity event had raised thousands.

"People from outside this area probably were shocked a moment ago when you talked about the number of visitors that come through here," said Gov. Beebe.

Visitors that the mayor hopes the town can capitalize on.

"I hope that Amagon can prosper out of this, I hope we can make something out of it, and people really realize this is a big day," said Willard.

Amagon's native son believes there is more to the community than just a sign on the road.

"Amagon is more than 95 people, more than just the confines of this town. It's a community, it's an area, and it's a feeling," smiled Beebe.

"Everyone I've talked to is overjoyed, but I don't think it's really soaked in. I think it's going to take them a while to really realize what's really gone on," said Willard.

The Governor also took time to visit with relatives including his Aunt Ila who actually delivered him. Beebe says his roots are solidly planted in Jackson County.

"It is a truly wonderful experience to come back where you were born. And see the folks that made the community what it is and frankly continue that legacy," said Gov. Beebe.

"This is forever, even when he goes out of office, we'll still have the sign, and we'll still have the memory of this day," said Willard.

Local officials are still working on a sign that will be placed at Governor Beebe's birthplace.