It's now officially the "David Hood Plaza."
The city has ensured a former mayor's legacy lives on by naming the Ormond Beach City Hall plaza in his honor.
Charles David Hood Jr. served as a City Commissioner from 1992-1994, and then mayor until 1999. Then, over a decade later, he ran and won the race to represent Florida House of Representatives District 25 in 2012. When his term was over, he looked to the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida instead of re-election, and was ultimately appointed to the bench by Gov. Rick Scott. He served as a judge for two years.
For those who served on the commission with him, Hood was an organized and driven official.
Volusia County Council Chair Ed Kelley, who later would also become mayor, was elected to the Ormond Beach City Commission in 1993. He said Hood was good at setting goals and objectives for the commission, and that he was focused on being fiscally conservative. Kelley also said he and Hood shared a similar philosophy in making government work more efficiently, by approaching it with business mindset.
“It was really neat having someone [like Hood] as a leader to be able to work with,” Kelley said.
Kelley said Ormond Beach was the first city in Volusia to go into zero-based budgeting under Hood's leadership. Naming the plaza after him is "a worthwhile recognition of someone who gave a lot," Kelley said.
Another former Ormond Beach mayor had nothing but good things to say about Hood. District 4 School Board member Carl Persis said Hood was a "forward-thinker" with a quick wit. Meetings were succinct and Hood always made a strong case for his beliefs.
“You didn’t want to get on his other side," said Persis with a laugh. "He could level you out very quickly.”
Hood was also the one to suggest the city contract out its waste management services, something that most cities nowadays do, but back in 1995 was "way out there," Persis said.
Seeing Hood at the city's dedication ceremony to christen the "David Hood Plaza" on Saturday, Oct. 27, meant a lot to Persis, especially considering Hood's current battle with cancer.
“I thought it was so courageous and it just took so much strength for him to do that," Persis said.
Ormond Beach resident Peggy Farmer said Hood's entire adult life was focused on helping those in need. He was chairman of organizations like Easter Seals of Volusia and Flagler and the Halifax Habitat for Humanity. He gave away toys to children on Thanksgiving and helped open up a charter school during his time on the Easter Seals board.
"He just is truly a remarkable human being," Farmer said. "A lot of people don't know that about him because he never boasts."
Farmer has known him for a long time. She used to help him with his campaigns back in the 90s. One of the stories that has touched her the most about Hood happened after he was diagnosed with cancer.. He was going through chemo when a substitute teacher called him about a little girl who also had cancer and would likely not make it through Christmas.
Farmer said Hood asked the teacher to tell the girl to make a list of all the things she wanted for Christmas. The little girl did so, and Hood and his secretary bought all the things on her list.
The little girl passed away two weeks after Christmas.
Farmer knows the dedication of the plaza was a special day for Hood, and that he continues to reminisce it every day since.
"It was really nice," Farmer said. "To be there and witness it and for him to have that memory to sustain him now for the rest of his life, I know it means a lot to him."