One of the latest people appointed to the Ennis Airport Commission, Bill Lewis, is no stranger to public service.
He has been a familiar face with many fund-raising efforts for various clubs and organizations and served as the city's mayor for five terms. His dedication to the city and its growth is something that comes second nature for him, almost as easy as his dedication to his wife Virginia and his family.
“I love this city and I am fortunate to be able to help out in any way I can. I think it's something everyone should do if they're able and it's sort of a payback to the city for letting me meet my wife,” he says as he smiles. “I can remember the first time I saw her, she walked into the Perry Brothers Variety Store I ran in downtown Ennis in 1950. She was wearing a red shirt, blue jeans and cowboy boots and I knew I had to meet her and 56 wedding anniversaries later, she is still the best thing that has ever happened to me and I've had some great things happen to me,” he said.
After getting married in 1951, they moved to Dallas where he worked for Dallas Power and Light (which became TXU) until he retired in 1987. While employed Lewis was chairman of every major fund-raising effort within the city and through his efforts he helped raise over $800 million dollars throughout his career.
After retirement, he moved back to Ennis to spend his days relaxing and resting, only to get involved with local organizations and clubs.
“I decided that retirement really wasn't going to keep me very busy so I joined the Chamber of Commerce and served on the board for the Chamber and Industrial Committee as well as the Lions Club, which I had been involved with in Dallas. I was asked to organize membership drives for both and I have been going strong ever since,” he said.
The Lions Club that Lewis helped organize a membership helped organize a membershipdrive for soon grew and is now second in terms of growth in the 2XI Division, trailing but quickly closing the gap on the chapter he was chairman of while in Dallas.
After becoming so involved in the community, he was asked to consider running as a city commissioner, which he did and ended up being voted by the commission to serve the remainder of the term vacated by Stan Lambert when he transfered to Abilene for his job.
“I was blessed to work with so many great people that had the best interests of the city at heart. I served five more terms unopposed before I retired to take some time to travel with my wife. Those were some of the most fun times of my life,” he said.
While serving as mayor he was awarded the “Outstanding Mayor in the U.S.” award for the mayor of a small city and traveled to Washington to receive the honor and met former President George H.W. Bush as well as Newt Gingrich.
“It was an honor to receive that award and to be nominated by Steve Howerton was really special. He has been a blessing to the city and I believe that we wouldn't have as many great things here without his work,” he said.
Some of the projects that Lewis takes pride in being involved with are:
* The railroad museum
* The industrial park
* Bluebonnet Park
* The expansion of the public library
* City improvements such as concrete streets and his current pet project, the new hospital.
“I was asked to head up a campaign to get voter's to approve the new hospital project and it passed 2-1. When you can get voter's to approve something so strongly, you know you have a worthwhile project,” he said.
He has served on the hospital board for the past 10 years and helps interview doctors and other medical professionals that want to come to Ennis.
“I believe the hospital and the new airport are going to act as magnets for the city, drawing other people in to see what Ennis has to offer and I am proud that we can showcase a progressive city that the citizens really get behind,” he said.
Besides all his volunteer efforts, Lewis spends time with his wife and son David, as well as his grandson.