Community leader celebrates 100 years of blessings

Published: Monday, March 18, 2013 at 04:00 PM.

But most of Conyers' memories are happy, filled with the blessings of friends and family, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.

Swimming in the L&N Railroad watering pond — now one of the ponds in Twin Hills Park — was a fun pastime, as was fishing. In winter, when water would slosh out of the railroad water tank and freeze, Conyers and her friends would break off icicles and eat them.

Conyers is glad to see some of the old Crestview that she remembers preserved for future generations. Main Street may no longer have hitching posts, but students attend classes in the Alatex Building that is now a Florida A&M University pharmacy school. Conyers had a hand in preserving the one-time sewing factory.

"Mayor (George) Whitehurst came to my house one day and we sat on the porch and got to talking and he said, 'Velma, I got to thinking, maybe we should tear that old building down,'" Conyers said.

"I said, 'Why do you want to tear things down and be like Fort Walton? Why don't you do something with that old building?' So people came together and now we have a new school for Crestview. I said, 'Leave something for the children to remember how it was.'"

"I feel pretty good," Conyers said. "It's just a blessing to be 100. It is a blessing. I have so much to thank God for."

Then she started softly singing one of her favorite hymns.

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