Even as the rain falls, the parking lot of the Super Wal-Mart in Chipley continues to stay busy.
The fact that the retail giant is even in Chipley is owed much to the late Tommy McDonald who visited Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton in Arkansas to clinch the deal, but the Wal-Mart is just one of many accomplishments by a man who was determined to bring business to northwest Florida.
Tommy McDonald, Jr. says, “Economic development was very important to my father; he knew that the people of northwest Florida needed to grow like the rest of the state, so he concentrated his efforts on trying to improve the infrastructure and trying to bring attention to the most beautiful part of Florida, northwest Florida.”
McDonald was the executive director of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, and just last month his fellow council members announced they'd rename the city's industrial park in honor of him, but he was more than a champion of business.
Chipley city manager Jim Morris grew up on the same street with McDonald and spoke about his longtime friend with a heavy heart.
"He was a real hardworking person, always had a smile on his face, good words to say about everybody."
Tommy McDonald may be gone, but his accomplishments will be felt for years to come.
Tommy McDonald, Jr. says, "When he died, he wanted to go to heaven and be the guardian angel of Chipley, and I think he's there now and he's watching over all of us."
Funeral arrangements for Tommy McDonald have been set. There will be a visitation on Monday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Brown's Funeral Home Brickyard Road Chapel.
The funeral service will take place on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the same chapel, followed by a graveside service at Glenwood Cemetery.
The family is asking in lieu of flowers to send donations to:
4440 Lafayette Street, Suite C
Marianna, FL 32446