John Davis honored, given key to City

By City of Orange Beach

February 7,  2020 - Orange Beach, AL - (OBA®) - Mayor Tony Kennon and Orange Beach City Council honored longtime volunteer and community servant John Davis with a surprise presentation of a key to the city during the council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

For 16 years, Davis worked flipping burgers and turning hotdogs at the Sportsplex concession stand in addition to serving on the city’s Finance Committee, Healthcare Authority and Planning Commission. 

Before revealing the surprise recognition, Mayor Kennon said, “He is someone who has made a difference in our community and our lives. Absolutely a mentor to me, especially the early years.”

City Administrator Ken Grimes added that when the community sees people volunteering or working in and around the city, most don’t realize their history such as Davis, who was a retired hospital administrator with over 30 years in the healthcare industry. 

“The gentleman today who we’re recognizing with a key to the city and certificate of appreciation, if you will, has made a tremendous investment of his time and his passions,” Grimes said prior to revealing his name and soon Davis figured it out while sitting in the front row of the council chambers. “There are many accomplishments all over town that he had his fingers on and got us through some very difficult times in the Recession and the downturn and how we restructured.” 

During Tuesday’s council meeting one after another from Councilman Jeff Silvers to Chairman Pro-tem Annette Mitchell to Mayor Kennon, each official acknowledged that Davis has served as a mentor. For Silvers and Mitchell, Davis was instrumental in urging each to step up and contribute to the community through volunteering on city committees and making the leap into elected office.  

“We’ve known each other for 16-plus years and I can’t say enough good enough things about John,” Silvers said while holding the mic in front of a packed council chambers and a grateful and teary-eyed Davis holding the framed key to the city next to his wife Pam. “Where he has been in his life, talking about in the medical field and management to flipping dogs out there at the sportsplex, helping us in our Finance Committee, Planning Commission, everything you’ve done. Serving with you when we did talk about the Orange Beach school system back in 2006 and 2007, you’re all about educating these kids and what it’s about for these kids. And I know in the last few months you’ve dealt with some health issues and you’ve never quit thinking about Orange Beach.”

Davis chimed in with an acknowledging “No.”

“And you won’t ever,” Silvers said, “because I know the moral fiber that you’re made up of and to me I want to say thank you.”

Councilman Jerry Johnson said he met Davis for the first time 10 years ago and saw his dedication alongside the late Councilman Al Bradley on the Finance Committee. 

“They brought this city through some of the worst times to where now it’s some of the best times,” Johnson said. “I don’t think there is any place in this city that you haven’t touched and we appreciate you.”

Chairman Pro-tem Annette Mitchell said Davis is her hero, crediting him and Bradley for inspiring her to volunteer on the Finance Committee, Healthcare Authority and Planning Commission. “And now here I sit thinking of you and your guidance to me every single day." Mitchell said. “I love you. I love your beautiful family. I love everything about you John Davis. Thank you.”

Mayor Kennon shared a story of when he ran for mayor for the first time in 2008. 

“It was a fairly tough election,” Mayor Kennon said. “And there were two people who I wanted on my side to help me and one was Al Bradley and one was John Davis. And in the course of just a few hours both of them told me no. But anyway … within just a few hours after being elected both of them called and asked, ‘What can I do?’ And Al and John, because if y’all  remember in ‘08, I took office in November, we were upside down, cash flow in the red as part of the financial crisis, laying people off. It was tough. These guys, along with some others, helped us turn this place around and turned a surplus that first year, which I thought we would never be able to do. Again, I was along for the ride and these guys helped make it happen. So, thank you buddy. I owe you in a big way for everything you have given me.”

Davis said he was speechless, wryly admitting that was “very unusual.” 

“I can only say I retired here because I love it here,” Davis said. “And I love this city and I love the people in it. And I hope to continue to do what I can. I can’t do as much as I could two or three years ago because of health but I’m still here and I still have an opinion and I will express it. Thank you very much. I think you live in a wonderful place and I think we all can do much much more to make it even better. So thank you. I appreciate everything you’ve said tonight. And I am overwhelmed to be honest. Thank you.”

In addition to the key to the city, a special flagpole and plaque will be dedicated to Davis for his contributions to the city at the Orange Beach Sportsplex.