A plaque attached to a piece of Sylacauga marble now greets those who come to the garden, a place where the mayor and his wife, Connie, were frequently seen talking with friends and neighbors.
It’s been said that Wright was a friend to everyone, and there’s no doubt he was a great ambassador for the city. He was a man with a rare combination of energy, optimism and enthusiasm, and was involved in quite a number of projects over the last half century in the city, through his church, civic club and any number of other organizations. He also served on the City Council from 1968-72, then took a 32-year break from public office before running for mayor.
That the plaque is on a piece of marble is especially appropriate. During his terms as mayor a renewed interest in the city’s marble industry and heritage became symbols for celebrating. Wright accompanied a group of Sylacaugans to the Birmingham Zoo to put a piece of marble on display, and help broaden recognition of Sylacauga as the “Marble City.” Now the annual marble festival is sparking renewed pride in the city’s resources and history, with marble sculptures on public display to reinforce that pride year-round.
Margaret Morton, director of the Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement that helped get the garden established, praised Wright and the city he loved during the dedication. Quoting Mother Teresa, who said, “I am a pencil in the hand of the Lord, writing love letters to the world,” she added, “This garden is a part of those love letters. It is a beautiful testimony, not just to Sam Wright, but to the community.”
Wright was one of the people who helped get the vegetable garden established and who spent time there enjoying the company of others while bringing food from the soil. It’s a fitting tribute to a man who loved his community and worked to help make it a better place to live.