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Brooks hopes to add energy and community engagement to council

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck

If Matt Brooks is to be believed, every good story has a girl in it.

His has lots of girls in it,  four to be exact, so you know it’s a good story.

The newly appointed member of the Williston City Council is excited to be serving the community he grew up in and hopes he can bring energy to his new post.

Brooks, the son of Jettie and Burke Brooks, graduated from Williston High School in 1996 and joined the Army Reserves.

“It was a rite of passage,” he said of his service, adding he followed a long line of family members who served their country.

Prodded by his friend, Derrick Wise, he attended the University of North Florida and studied  marketing and public relations. He also joined  Pi Kappa Phi, a fraternity dedicated to  community service, especially the disabled.

He did a cross country bike ride as a fundraiser, and coupled with a stint in Hungary, became more and more appreciative of the life he had in Williston. 

“Then I met a girl,” he said.

That girl, Angie, became his bride and the couple lived in Charlotte, N.C. and Charleston, S.C. where they were subsequently joined by three more girls–daughters, Baylin, Berkley and Brityn.

The Brooks family decided a couple of years ago the time was right to return home, put down roots and give their girls the kind of upbringing everyone craves–full of love and family support.

For a time he worked in medical sales, but after a while decided he could put both his degree and his on-the-job training his father-in-law had given him to use by opening his own sign and graphics business, located on Hwy. 40 in Montbrook.

Last year several people approached him about filling a vacancy on city council, but the timing just wasn’t right, he said, admitting he really never had political aspirations.

Following the example of his parents, Brooks threw himself into community service by working with his church, WYAA and Williston Central Christian Academy.

When Jack Screws resigned last month, Brooks asked himself if this was his opportunity.

“Do I have time?” He asked. “Can I make a difference?”

The answer was yes and Oct. 8, council appointed him to serve out the unexpired term.

“I want to see more business, see downtown thrive and engage residents to become more involved in their community,” he said. 

He plans over the next few months to meet and talk with people and spur them on to becoming involved in where they live, work and play.

Brooks sees an diamond in the rough at the Williston Airport and believes if Williston can attract a hotel, there is unlimited tourism prospects.

“I’m extremely honored to serve with these guys,” he said of the council, adding  each one brings something different to the table.

He said he wants to learn more about the budget process and when he votes on issues understand how it affects the budget.

In his spare time, he enjoys hunting and fishing, utilizing his creative skills and of course, spending time with those four girls of his.