Darrell Spells – Hackett Police Chief, and RP Contributor
Yesterday, Friday, February 17th, 2017, the city of Hackett lost the epitome of a public servant. A quiet and Godly man who served his community for many years, Darrell Newton always made time for the residents of the community. One of the very first articles I submitted to Resident Press was an interview I did with Newton a couple of months back. The article focuses on some of Newton’s accomplishments as Mayor of Hackett.
Trying to find a project in Hackett that doesn’t have the fingerprints of former Mayor Darrell Newton is a difficult task. Newton was well known around the city of Hackett. The projects he helped create are even more well known. Newton served on and off the city council for 10-20 years and 16 years as Mayor of Hackett.
Newton who was married to his wife, Nellie for 63 years was frequently found at city hall in the early morning hours reading his Bible in his office. Before most city employees had started their day, Newton was already beginning his. Newton whose quiet demeanor carried him through years of public service is was a frequent face at Main Street Café where you could often catch he and his wife eating breakfast.
When asked, what was his biggest project, Newton never hesitated. “The city park without a doubt”. Newton described in detail one of the obstacles the park project faced. “Not long after the park was almost finished we had a bad flood. The flooding took out about 90 foot of asphalt on the north side of the park. During this time, three boys were playing in the flood waters up the creek. Luckily we had some first responders on scene who were able to get the boys out of the water”.
Newton also overseen the development of the new fire center during his tenure as mayor. Newton and fellow Hackett resident Dale Johnson also had a hand in Hackett’s most visible and well known structure. The three crosses facing south near the intersection of Highway 10 and Highway 45 catches travelers eye as they enter the city. While the city park may be the biggest project, the smile on Newton’s face let me know that the cross project was his favorite. “Dale Johnson and I came up with the idea. We were over at his shop when the idea was first mentioned. Dale Johnson put a lot of work into it along with Mark Ibson. Donations for the project came from several citizens in Hackett.”
It’s safe to say the city of Hackett and its citizens certainly benefited from Newton’s servant heart.