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Gilpin ceremony a family affair

CHESAPEAKE

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It’s going to be a family affair when Dick Gilpin takes his oath of office as mayor of Chesapeake next Wednesday.

It took awhile to finalize a date because all the members of the incoming mayor’s clan had to check their holiday schedules. But Gilpin is hoping many of his family members will attend the ceremony.

While his family was working out calendar conflicts, Gilpin was already focused on his agenda for his adopted hometown.

“We are limited by weather now, but we need to start cleaning the town. It needs it,’’ he said recently in a phone interview. “Rockwood Avenue has been under construction by the state for the last two or three years. It needs to be cleaned up.

“We have some streets that need to be repaired. As funds become available, we are going to do more than patch,” he added. “Some roads will need resurfacing. … And we are going to look into how we can better utilize our lighting.”

He also noted that any plans made must reflect the needs of his constituency.

“We are in an aging community,” he said. “Whatever we do we have to keep in mind our seniors. We don’t want to do anything to affect them adversely.”

A native

of Cheboygan, Mich., Gilpin came to Chesapeake, via Madison, W.Va., where his parents ran a small variety store. In 1982 Gilpin had a chance to open up Gilpin’s True Value Hardware Store in Chesapeake, so he moved to southern Lawrence County. He did that for about 16 years before opening Gilpin’s Creative Trophies and Awards, 101 2nd Ave., the shop he now runs.

It was commerce, not politics, that brought Gilpin to Chesapeake, but about a year ago, he got his political feet wet when he was appointed to the village council.

He saw a chance to give back to his community and found that his reputation as a respected businessman provided him with political clout.

“My term on council was up and because I was appointed I had to run in the next election,” he said. “I had to run for either office. I wanted to do the one that I could have an impact.”

He chose running for mayor and it was a decision in which he says he has no regrets.

“I’ve always treated people well. They respect me for that,” he said. “ As a businessman the customer always comes first and you have to treat them fairly. You treat them like you wanted to be treated. If you do that, you have a happier life.”