It’s known simply as The Museum. The more formal name is The Syracuse Museum and Cultural Center. It was envisioned earlier, but formally opened in 1993 during Mayor Michael Garrett’s administration. Its name implies more than preservation. Focus on the word “cultural”. The Center introduces visitors and newcomers to Syracuse culture; it is part of our legacy. The City recognizes individuals with The Key to the City at the climax of Heritage Days. 2020 is becoming the Year of COVID-19; the season of no mass gatherings. There will be no normalcy with Heritage Days this year! We do announce four recipients of The Key to the City.
Phil Gooch sets the tone. It all began at a night at the museum. He’s jolly. At the Pumpkin Walk last October, on a very blustery, feels-like-freezing night, Phillip Gooch dressed in Victorian garb, and armed with an infectious smile, lured Walk participants across the street to the museum, exposing all to culture. This little “Dickens” of a man has given his heart to the center and expanded community culture by providing unfailing leadership for decades. Thank you, Phil. You set the Dickens theme for this communique. Let’s sing a Christmas Carol in July.
RC Willey will leave and occupy its new location in Layton in July. The revenue source provided to the city through point-of-sales taxes will vanish. Speaking to those who may fault others for the relocation, I offer this “carol”.
Larry Spencer is the Spirit of RC Willey Past. Shortly after his marriage to his wife, Joanne, Larry began sweeping floors in the warehouse at RC Willey. He advanced. The sales floor was opened to him. A Willey’s employee during my undergraduate years, I knew him as top salesperson in the company. He advanced to sales manager and then general manager of the Syracuse store. He is now retired. He’s never left Syracuse. Because he’s never left, a hallmark educator, his wife Joanne, served Syracuse 4th-graders and became beloved.
Craig Henderson is the Spirit of RC Willey Present; the pattern is similar. Craig began his career at Willey’s on the furniture sales floor. Management saw his talent and moved him to the operations side at the Syracuse location. With the move to Layton, he will become the furniture sales manager. He was a founding member of SBOSS which later became a chamber of commerce. He served as its managing director for a year and is currently the regional commissioner for AYSO. He and his wife bless the lives of our youth.
Brent Jones is the Spirit of RC Willey Future; again, the pattern holds. He currently serves as the general manager of the Syracuse store, but will move to the new location with a similar title. He and his wife, Jan, raised in Syracuse, will never leave home.
These gentlemen have also received the Key for unfailing leadership given to the community over many years. There’s a hidden value in maintaining a relationship with RC Willey; local residents are offered jobs, promoting leadership development and benefiting all. Let’s cherish our long friendship with RC Willey, show gratitude for their decades-long support to our community, and wish them well in their future endeavors!
-Mayor Mike Gailey