WATER VALLEY – District 2 Supervisor Amos Sims is one of three supervisors in the county who will step down at the end of the year when his term ends. At 61, his retirement marks the end of a career that started in 1984 as a county road hand and continued through six elections, starting with the special election in 1992 where he led the five-man ballot to fill the position after James “Junior” Nicholson died while in office.
Sims recalls that first election was his toughest after he edged out Fred White in a runoff by just over a hundred votes. After that he has always carried the ballot by at least a 200-vote margin, success he attributes to earning the trust and respect of his constituents.
“I want to thank the people who have put their trust in me during these years. I have tried each day to not waiver from that trust by being respectful and trustworthy. I have tried to have an open door policy,” Sims told the Herald last week in an interview about his service to the county.
He also credits his work crew and a strong working relationship with other supervisors sharing the table during his tenure as vital to maintaining that trust.
“You have got to have a good workforce,” he explains. “That can make or break a supervisor,” Sims explains. “And I have enjoyed working with all of the fellow supervisors that I have worked with. I have enjoyed the moments.”
Sims believes that strong bond shared at the board table has helped the county stretch a limited budget to meet the county’s needs.
“We never had a point where we just couldn’t get along,” Sims recalls.
The accomplishments during his career are marked by obvious milestones, including the multi-million dollar investment renovating the county’s courthouses. Highlights also include the incremental, year-after-year effort to improve the roads and bridges in his district.
“Good roads and bridges are vital to our county. It means a lot to people who have spent much of their life traveling dirt roads,” Sims explains. “When I look back, I am proud to see how our county has moved so much of our road mileage from gravel to paved.”
Quick to give credit, Sims points to former long-time county engineer, the late Jack Willis, as playing a big role in improving the county’s roads and bridges.
“He thought the world of Yalobusha County and we tried to always appreciate that. You could call Jack anytime, day or night, and he would come to help,” Sims recalls.
Sims also credit a strong working relationship with Water Valley Mayor Larry Hart and the street department for helping, as District 2 encompasses a large swath of the town that includes city street miles.
As for the courthouses, he believes they are landmarks worthy of the $5 million renovation that got underway in 2004 and continued into 2005.
“To see where our courthouses were at, it wasn’t a real pretty sight,” Sims recalls. “It was a good thing for the county. It was a tremendous task that we overtook,” Sims adds.
Another highlight less noticeable is worker safety, a top concern for Sims as leader of a four-man crew responsible for maintaining his district’s roads and bridges.
“I think we have been real fortunate not to have any serious injuries,” Sims notes.
Sims also points to the construction of a new county jail that is nearing completion as another important milestone.
“I think this is a good move. It had been talked about and talked about, now it is finally a reality,” Sims said. He credits the hard work and dedication from Board President Tommy Vaughn as a key factor in this project.
“Tommy has worked tirelessly on our jail,” Sims said.
Sims also points to the Multi-purpose Building in Coffeeville, the North Mississippi Fish Hatchery at Enid Lake and the former beef plant facility at Oakland as projects across the county that improved the quality of life.
“Even though the beef plant was a bad thing, something good came out of it,” Sims said about Windsor Foods that is one of the county’s largest employers.
Past, Present and Future
Sims graduated from Water Valley High School in 1972 and moved to Nashville for almost six years before returning home.
“I moved back home and got married, that’s where everything got started,” Sims said about his career and family.
Sims got his start with the county after he was hired by former Beat 2 Supervisor Fred Earl Moorman as a truck driver. He had experience as a truck driver, working with his father in the timber industry.
“He asked me to report to work the day after Labor Day,” Sims said about his first day as a county employee.
Sims said multiple people asked him to run for the job in 1992 after Nicholson, who succeeded Moorman, died earlier that year.
“It put me in a position where I had a huge responsibility, I learned that’s where the buck stopped, Sims said about the transition from road foreman to supervisor.
While serving as supervisor, Sims also balances family life, serving as pastor at Bayson Chapel M.B. Church for 26 years and as moderator for Mt. Moriah District Association. He has no intentions of stepping down as pastor at Bayson Chapel, but this marks his 12th and final year as moderator of Mt. Moriah, the association of 31 Baptist churches in Yalobusha, Grenada and Yalobusha counties.
“Family life is very dear to me, I have been married for 35 years,” Sims said about one of his important roles in life. With three kids and two grandkids, he is looking forward to some leisure time.
“But I am not a person to keep the couch occupied,” Sims added.