Outgoing Loganville Mayor Rey Martinez sat as mayor of his last full City Council meeting on Dec. 9, 2021. He will open the January 2022 meeting and take care of old business before incoming Mayor Skip Baliles is sworn in and takes over to conduct any new business. Martinez chose not to run for reelection, deciding instead to run for Georgia House of Representatives District 114 in November 2022 to replace current Rep. Tom Kirby.
At Thursday’s meeting, Martinez opened the meeting by introducing his last Mayor for a Day, Levi Barrelle. He had asked Kevin Barrelle of Barelle Roofing if his son would like to be the last Mayor for a Day after Levi had stepped in to assist him at the Loganville Autumn Fest when he was getting overwhelmed with customers at his Cuban food booth.
“Let me tell ya, My boy made me proud today. We had our fall festival today. My son was gone for some time. So I went walking around and found him helping Mayor Rey Martinez at his Cuban sandwhich booth. Levi was working it. He saw a need and opportunity and slid right in there helping out. That’s my boy right there,” the proud dad wrote on his Facebook page after the festival on Oct. 16.
“Levi, did outstanding. He knew exactly what to do when I told him once. He greeted every customer with a polite smile & assisted me packing up. Much needed help after a long sunny & windy day. Thanks so much Levi,” Martinez said in response.
One of the most heartwarming instances was last month when the mayor actually had three young people participate in the program – Cierra Thomas, Jayden Bateman and little Treasure Williams, who hardly took her eyes off her mother the whole time she was behind the city council podium. When she got the opportunity to speak on the mic, she was not shy at all about taking it, using the opportunity to announce to everybody there that she loved her mommy. It drew a collective “aww” from those in attendance.
In the program, the many mayors for a day that Martinez has had assist him each month got to spend some time at City Hall in the lead up to the meeting, getting to see how the city operates and what each department does. The Mayor for a Day then officially opens the meeting and sits behind Martinez for the rest of the meeting. The young “mayor” also gets a certificate noting his or her participation in the program.
Martinez began the program in 2018 with his first mayor for a day, 10-year-old Cameron Wagstaff, a young boy who had survived a traumatic pit bull attack on Jan. 24, 2018. Cameron was lifeflighted after surviving the attack by three pit bulls. First responders, the flight crew and a neighbor were honored later that year for helping save the young boy’s life. The mayor kicked off his Mayor for a Day progam with Cameron serving as the first youth in that capacity.
Now a teen and a student at Loganville Middle School, Cameron was in attendance at last Thursday’s meeting. He spoke, ensuring everybody that his attack did not do anything to quell his love of dogs, particularly his own dogs. Martinez noted that his program had come full circle with him being able to have in attendance at his last opportunity to host the progam the two young mayors from his first and last events.