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Members of the Volusia County Council and the Pierson Town Council unveiled a plaque at a Lake George boat launch June 12 to commemorate former Pierson Mayor James Sowell.

Now, when boaters launch from the Shell Harbor Park boat launch at 1800 Shell Harbor Road in Pierson, they’ll be greeted by the face of the Town of Pierson’s former mayor.

In attendance were County Council Members Barbara Girtman and Ben Johnson, as well as elected officials from Pierson.

Also attending were members of the Sowell family, including James Sowell’s son, Michael Sowell.

Michael Sowell knew his father would have liked not just the plaque, but the entire boat launch on Lake George, which was spruced up in 2019.

“Daddy was a fishing guy out there on the river,” Michael Sowell told The Beacon. “He spent so much time in that area. It was really nicely done.”

The Sowell family was very happy with the plaque and the ceremony, as well as the fond memories of the former mayor that now live in perpetuity at the boat launch.

“I can’t thank the county, and I can’t thank the town of Pierson enough for what they’ve done,” Michael Sowell said.

James “Jimmie” Sowell, a lifelong Pierson resident, served as the town’s mayor from 2000 until 2019, when he died in the middle of a term. Sowell’s final term was finished by now-Mayor Bennett. Bennett remembered his co-worker and friend fondly. 

“It was an honor and privilege to work with him for over 20 years. He brought a lot to the table,” Bennett said. “The only problem that I have with our former mayor is that he’s not there today, still serving.”

Bennett thanked the Volusia County Council members who attended on behalf of the Town of Pierson.

Shell Harbor Park is open every day from dawn to dusk, and all of its facilities, including the boat launch bearing James Sowell’s plaque, are free to use.

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