Faithful village founder honored
By DALE BRAKHAGE / Community Columnist
At the Oct. 16 Founders Day Barbecue, Mayor Steve Zerkis revealed a plaque honoring Jim Wyatt. The plaque’s inscription reads, “Sergeant James E. Wyatt. For his faithful service to the citizens of Indian Springs Village and in the grateful appreciation to the service men and women that Jim represents. Semper Fi.”
Semper Fi describes Jim’s commitment to the Marine Corps. Jim served two tours of active duty in the United States Marine Corps and saw ferocious combat in Korea in 1950-1951. For more than 40 years, he has been active in the Marine Corps League and served the Birmingham area as commandant in 2001.
Jim is also faithful to Indian Springs. He, his wife, Mildred, and daughter, Julie, moved to the area in 1972. According to Jim, “About 20 to 25 people became concerned about the rapid expansion of Hoover and Birmingham.” They wanted Indian Springs to remain free from those larger cities. Jim helped organize a petition drive. When they had enough signatures, Indian Springs Village was born.
“In those early days, the village had no money. A certain street, however, had a lot of potholes, recalls Jim. One day, he and two friends, Jim Boyette and Paul Stevens, were discussing that — like retirees do. Then they decided to solve the problem. With an antique truck, the three went about buying materials and repairing potholes. They became known and the “Pothole Crew.” They even had a road sign that read “Indian Springs Village Pothole Crew.” They fixed potholes for three years until the village could pay a contractor.
In the years following, many villagers benefited from Jim’s volunteer work. In the Blizzard of 1993, then the tornado of 1994, Jim and the Crew organized chainsaw teams to clear roads and help stranded villagers. For many years, the Pothole Crew stayed up all night on July 3 cooking barbecue for the Village’s Fourth of July celebrations.
Indian Springs can also thank Jim’s faithful service for our town hall facilities. Jim negotiated the purchase of the farmhouse that became our town Hall. The Pothole Crew cleared the land, procured the telephone poles and dug the holes for the town pavilion.
Dale Brakhage writes a weekly column about Indian Springs and its residents. You can reach him at email@example.com.