Morning News-Lisa Lete
An emotional Chief Kevin Gray of the Blackfoot Fire Department gives retiring mayor Mike Virtue a hug after presenting him with an ax and declaring him an honorary fireman at Tuesday's city council meeting where the community bid farewell to the popular mayor.
It was an evening filled with laughter and tears as Blackfoot's new city leaders were sworn in and the community bid farewell to popular two-term mayor Mike Virtue and retiring councilman Rich Woodfin at Blackfoot City Hall Tuesday evening.
Newly elected mayor Paul Loomis took his oath of office followed by the city council members Bart Brown, Chris Jensen, Layne Gardner and newcomer Jan Simpson.
Upon kicking off his last council meeting as mayor, Virtue expressed his heartfelt gratitude to his family, friends and the citizens of Blackfoot for their support during his eight years as mayor; recognizing Pocatello's mayor Brian Blad in attendance at the meeting.
Blad said he came to the meeting to "extend a hand of fellowship" to Blackfoot's council in support of Virtue's service and to congratulate Loomis, saying "it's important to show regional support to neighboring cities."
Virtue encouraged everyone to get know Loomis and the council members, saying, "When you have questions about your city go to the council. Do what you can to make your community a better place. I will continue to be an ardent supporter of the city."
And always with a humorous quip, he added, "Now I'm going to slither back into oblivion. That's my story and I'm sticking to it."
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