Linden names two citizens its Hometown Treasures

Published 1:01 am Saturday, December 6, 2008

Linden’s mayor Mitzi Gates presented a certificate Friday to one of two men the city is honoring next week as a “Hometown Treasure.”

Gates gave the certificate to Cass Lewis Witherspoon, 60, on the steps of the Marengo County Courthouse in Linden Friday.

“He (Witherspoon) thrives on sharing smiles and laughs, and his service to Linden is given straight from the heart,” said Gates.

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Witherspoon has been the groundskeeper at the Marengo County Courthouse in Linden since 1979. Over the years he has become a fixture in Linden.

“He is known and loved by everyone at the courthouse,” gates said. “Perhaps the most amazing, and certainly most endearing, characteristic Cass possesses is his eternal smile, that emulates from his particularly positive and charming personality. Anyone who greets Cass on the street with “How’s it going, Cass?” will immediately get a gleaming and knowing smile followed by a, “so far so good; so good so far!”

The other person Linden is honoring, as a “Hometown Treasure” is volunteer firefighter and former Fire Chief Brady W. Creel.

At 87 years old, Creel is the longest serving firefighter in the state, serving Linden for 54 years.

Before becoming a firefighter, Creel moved to Linden in 1947 to manage the Yellow Front Store, and did so from 1947 to 1954. He then opened Linden Dry Goods.

“In addition to being a volunteer firefighter, Creel served Linden as fire chief from 1968 to 1986. During that time he was also a police officer and chief of police/director of public safety.

“Retirement didn’t set well with Mr. Creel and the city is richer because of that fact,” said Gates. “He is still regarded as “Chief” to all who know him.

Creel’s son, James Creel now serves as fire chief.

Creel and Witherspoon will be honored at a special reception before Linden’s Parade of Lights on Friday, Dec. 12 and during the parade. State Treasure Kaye Ivey will serve as the Grand Marshall.

The parade will be held Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m. and will be part of a weekend-long slate of holiday events in events, called ChillyFest.

ChillyFest will begin that Friday at 3 p.m. with the opening of a two-day carnival by C&M Midways. It will be located on the front lawn of Linden Elementary School.

At the same time, vendors will be set up downtown at Gazebo Park and start selling a variety of unique items, many homemade.

Caroling at the city’s Gazebo Park in the heart of downtown will begin at 4 p.m. with a tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. This will be followed by what is expected to be one of the area’s largest nighttime Christmas parades, the Parade of Lights. It will leave Scott Park at 6:30 p.m. and make its way towards the gazebo where it is expected to arrive around 7 p.m.

The night will be capped off by a professional fireworks show at 9 p.m.

Saturday morning will begin with the first annual Chilly Chili 5K run and 2 mile walk at 9 a.m., followed by the kid’s fun run at 10 a.m. It will weave through the downtown area, beginning behind the fire station.

The carnival cranks back up again at 10 a.m., along with a slate of local and regional entertainers providing music throughout the day.

While all this is happening, two other events will be taking place in anticipating of winning awards.

Area teams of amateur chili chefs will try their hand at developing their own chili concoctions – cooking them throughout the day. Judging will be held at 1 p.m.

A car show will also be held throughout the day with judging car show at 2 p.m.

For more information about the festival go to the city’s website at Follow the links to the ChillyFest information. You can also call Ward at 334-295-4121.