Summarized by Vickie Speek
LDS Mayor struggles to resurrect town after flood (After flood, mayor leads town back)
(Northern) VA Journal (Virginian-Pilot) 12Oct99 D2
By Susie Stoughton: The Virginian-Pilot
FRANKLIN, Va. - The flood from Hurricane Floyd, which swallowed his
insurance company along with the rest of downtown, couldn't get James P.
Councill III down. Neither could the burden of rebuilding a business district
that had become a ``war zone'' overnight. Or even remarks hurled at him in
anger at public meetings. But, last Wednesday, the tire on his car went flat,
and Councill, the city's cheerleader, and part-time mayor, ended up in the
For three weeks, from early morning until late at night, Councill had
coordinated plans to reopen downtown and return residents to their homes
after Hurricane Floyd sent as much as 12 feet of water from the Blackwater
River into Franklin last month. Councill, a member of the LDS Church, changed
the flat tire himself. That, along with mucking out his Main Street office,
is probably what led to his outpatient surgery Friday to repair a hernia, his
As mayor of Franklin, Councill, 54, is the spokesman for 8,000 residents, all
affected in some way by the disaster. He's been called a morale builder, "the
glue" that gets everyone to stick together. "He's kept us all up," said
Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce director Donna McCullough,
whose office was flooded. "He's been upbeat, never `Woe is me.' It's always,
`This is going to get better."
The former bishop says he will recover from hernia surgery quickly, and when
he does, there will be plenty to do, including rebuilding city hall and the
public safety building and repairing the sewage treatment plant. He hopes to
have as many stores as possible back in business before Christmas and most
work completed in a year, with the remainder completed within three years.
Some years ago, he learned two key words: concern and control, Councill said.
"A lot of things, you have great concern about but no control over,...Let
them go. And the things you can control, focus and harness your energy on