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HILLSVILLE — Motivated by the future in Hillsville for her grandchildren and encouraged by her husband, Frieda Jessup officially became the Sulphur Springs representative on town council last Tuesday.
Jessup was one of four people who put themselves forward to fill the vacancy left by former Sulphur Springs council member Bill Tate’s election to the mayor’s post in May.
Instead of sitting back and letting someone else do the work, Jessup explained that she felt like it was time to get involved herself.
A resident of the town for more than 30 years, Jessup graduated in one of the last classes to go through Hillsville High School. She spent two years at Wytheville Community College, and was a long-time volunteer on the Hillsville Rescue Squad after joining in 1985.
Her time running emergency medical calls got her interested in the medical field, and that led to her becoming a lab technician at Twin County Regional Hospital in 1990, a job she still holds.
When she heard of the vacancy on Hillsville Town Council, Jessup decided to see what she could do for her community and her grandkids.
“I’m concerned about the fact that, if they want to stay in the area, there’s no jobs right now,” she said. “For this community to grow and get better, we’ve got to have the jobs.”
Jessup promises to work with Tate and the council members to have a team effort for the good of the town. “I hope I become an asset.”
She had a good impression of what the town council has accomplished. Though she’s not a downtown merchant, Jessup can see that the town’s effort to bring more people downtown to shop has been successful.
Jessup feels working at the hospital for 20 years has given her insight on how to work with people, and listening is one of her strengths.
She also sees the ability to keep her cool as another good virtue. “I’m not a stubborn person, but when I believe something’s right, I’ll stand up for it.”
Jessup wants to be a good representative for the people in the Sulphur Springs ward. She says she’ll look at the other council members as mentors for her two-year appointment.
Her husband Bill supported her decision to seek the town council appointment — just like he encourages her in everything, Jessup noted. “He’s been a force behind me, too, telling me I can do it.”
Mayor Bill Tate said the council members had a hard time in selecting his replacement from among the applicants.
The vote at the special meeting last Tuesday was unanimous for Jessup.
“The four candidates we had, they was all four good,” he said. “That’s one of the toughest things I had to do in all my years.”
Jessup will be a good public relations person for Hillsville, she’s a people person, and she’s got a level head, Tate said. He knows she’ll work well with town staff.
“I encouraged the other three to come back in two years to try it again,” Tate said.