Several people heaped praise on the commission president and presented him with honors, including the key to the town of Chapmanville.
Kirkendoll left his longtime position as county commission president due to a part of the West Virginia Code that would have reduced his retirement if he stayed on past Dec. 1. Kirkendoll said he is undecided as to his political future and he might one day run for another office.
West Virginia University Extension Agent Jeremy Farley, who is also on the Chapmanville Town Council, presented Kirkendoll with a WVU blanket and tie and a 4H certificate for Kirkendoll's great service to the community.
"You've given so much to Logan County," Farley said. "You have really done things to help the youth of Logan County."
Chapmanville Mayor Jerry Price and Chapmanville Project Coordinator Brian Kirkendoll presented Art Kirkendoll with the key to the town, which Price called Chapmanville's highest honor.
Marilyn Crosby presented Kirkendoll with a shirt that had a picture of a golf course on it and read "I’m retired and this is my office.” Kirkendoll, an avid golfer, laughed at the presentation.
"We're really going to miss you," Crosby said.
Commission Clerk Barbara Belcher said she could describe Kirkendoll with one word: "Dedicated."
During Kirkendoll’s 30 years as a commissioner, he has spearheaded several projects including getting water to 95 percent of the households in the county, getting a major recreational facility built in Chief Logan State Park, contructing state-of-the-art sports complexes throughout the county and getting a flood reduction project funded, among many other accomplishments.
Kirkendoll said he will still be around to help when he's needed. He said he has always tried to listen to the people he served and worked to do what was best for the people of Logan County.
"I gave my promise I would always have my door open to everybody and I did that," Kirkendoll said.
The commission president, who began his career as a commissioner at the age of 28, said he has worked with a lot of good people who made every accomplishment possible, including his longtime partners on the commission, Danny Godby and Willie Akers.
"They have confidence in me and they have backed me to the hilt," Kirkendoll said. "This county is in the best financial shape it's been in and we have made more progress than any other county. I get praise for what I do, but without two guys like these, I couldn't do what we do. I think they both believe in me. They are the best you can get. If I had the passion that I was right, they backed me 100 percent. These guys are brilliant men and not just commissioners."
Kirkendoll also said he believes incoming Commissioner Danny Ellis will do a great job.
"You've got a good man coming in. Danny is fiscally responsible and you can talk to him," Kirkendoll said. "I think they can keep the county moving forward."
Kirkendoll said for 30 years he's had the best job in the country.
"I have worked with the best people in the world," Kirkendoll said. "And, every election, the voters gave me a resounding victory. We have worked hard on expanding services Our sports facilities are No. 1 in the state and this commission is the most aggressive in the state."
Kirkendoll said he wants to see projects he's started completed.
"I hope to be around to help," Kirkendoll said. "I'll always be here to do that."
Kirkendoll thanked his family for being so understanding all the times he has been away working for the county.
"My family has missed a few things, but they understood my passion for public service and they never questioned it," Kirkendoll said, smiling at his wife, Barbara, his son, Brian, and his two grandchildren, who were all sitting in the front row during the meeting. "It's been special."
Akers said he hopes Kirkendoll will be around to help with future projects.
"I'm going to ask Art to stay with us," Akers said. "We have all kinds of things we want him to do."
Akers, who said he wanted Kirkendoll to be president so he could take all the phone calls, praised Kirkendoll for his hard work for the people of Logan County.
"It has been a pleasure working with Art and we're going to miss him," Akers said.
Godby said Kirkendoll has been great for Logan County.
"I've known Art for many years and as the years go by, he's gotten stronger as far as his work habits and in his concern for family and friends."
Godby thanked Kirkendoll for his help in getting his brother, David Godby, who was recently paralyzed in an automobile accident, into a hospital in Atlanta where he can get better treatment for his injuries. Godby said Kirkendoll called Sen. Joe Manchin and recruited his help in getting his brother into the facility.
"He is a servant to the people and he tries to do what's best for everyone," Godby said. "He has worked to enhance other people's lives. He has not been the average county commissioner and that's why Logan County is where it's at today. I am proud to call Art and Willie my friends." This man is going to be hard to replace."
Godby told Kirkendoll he loved him.
Several in the crowd wiped tears away from their eyes as the meeting came to a close.