A heart for service is the best way to describe how Mike and Bonney Ramsey feel about Waxahachie. For the past 43 years, the Ramseys have served in countless ways in an effort to give back to a city they say has given so much to their family.
To recognize their service, the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce recently honored them as Citizen of the Year.
Receiving the award came as a “complete shock” when their names were announced at the chamber’s annual awards ceremony, Bonney said during a recent visit the couple had with the Sun.
“It was a wonderful surprise and we are very humbled and honored to be chosen by the former citizens of the year,” she said. “When your friends and people that you have known for a long time tell you how they feel about you it warms your heart and makes you proud.
“The second most exciting part of being named Citizen of the Year was, as I stood up and turned around to help Mike, and there was our daughter from Austin and our daughter from Prosper. They were sitting in the back of the room and we never saw them.”
It was “a great feeling to share that moment with family because it makes that time even more special,” she said.
Mike shared his wife’s feelings about the honor.
“It was not only a surprise but it was a very much appreciated acknowledgement of our efforts to be a positive influence in this for this market,” Mike said. “It was very much of an honor.”
The Ramseys have served on numerous boards, commissions, councils and citizens groups connected with organizations such as the city of Waxahachie, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Waxahachie, Waxahachie ISD, Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, Central Presbyterian Church, Navarro College and the annual Crape Myrtle Festival.
One of the boards Mike served on was the chamber’s Economic Development Council, where he was chair from 2011-2016. The council brought community leaders and public officials together to identify the current and future needs of the area, how to answer those needs and how to plan for future growth in the area.
The council’s accomplishments included the relocation and construction of a new hospital, the construction of a new high school and the expansion and improvements to Interstate Highway 35E that are under way.
What made the council work was the unselfish mindset everyone brought to the table, he said, noting that council members looked at the needs of the entire community and not just one group. He notes that people in the community, along with city staff, are progressive in their thinking and have an unselfish devotion to making Waxahachie a better place to live.
“I think that if you would drive around and look at the quality development with the brand new highway, high school and hospital, we have a lot of other brand new developments that are coming in stemming from this,” Mike said. “This is a market that is full of opportunity and where, if you have an idea, you can grow it.
“When you stand back, like what we did and look at what Waxahachie had and its potential, it is then a matter of putting the right people together to take advantage of that potential,” he said. “It gives you a sense of pride and satisfaction that you have taken something that was good and you have made it better.”
Mike credits his parents with instilling in him the desire to give back and the spirit of volunteerism he carries with him to this day.
Two well-known areas where Bonney is known for her work are the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and the annual Crape Myrtle Festival, where she has served as festival chair since 2005.
“The reason why Mike and I do what we do is because we love this city,” Bonney said. “We love Waxahachie and want the best for it. There are so many incredible people in this city. This is the key to Waxahachie’s success is that you have wonderful people working together.
“Together, we accomplish so much,” she said. “When you try to go about things by yourself, you’re never going to be successful. That is why I love Waxahachie – because of the incredible people we are blessed to be around and work with.”