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After play, cast joins friends, local dignitaries for reception
Leila Daughtry sign for web
Bulloch County Commissioners presented Mary Hutchison with a road sign before the play, designating a portion of Rocky Ford Road in Portal as the Dr. Lela Daughtry Denmark Highway. Hutchison is the daughter of Denmark, who is still alive at 110. She retired at age 103 and was the oldest practicing physician in the country. Denmark's father was Portal's first mayor and the town is proud of her legacy. Shown, from left, are Bulloch County Commissioners Walter Gibson and Roy Thompson, and at right, Hutchison. - photo by HOLLI DEAL BRAGG/staff
    After a successful presentation Saturday, the cast of “Between Hopeulikit and Piddleville: Portal Celebrates 100” joined friends and state and local dignitaries for a reception in the Portal Elementary School cafeteria.
    Still in costume, characters expressed relief that the huge production was over, but the majority of conversations were about how much fun everyone had.
    Patricia Parrish, wife of former Bulloch County Commission chairman Johnny Parrish, played the part of a chorus member. Johnny Parrish played a variety of roles, including that of “the goat man,” a colorful and likely odoriferous man who occasionally appeared in town with a cart pulled by a  team of billy goats and a herd of nannies and kids cavorting behind.
    “Not everybody gets to go home and sleep with the goat  man,” she said.
    Portal City Council member Jerry Lanigan played a few parts, too — her great, great grandfather, Dr. Lonnie Alderman, one of Portal’s well-respected doctors, and the part of a woman named Inez who was known for her love of alcohol as well as for being pronounced dead once when she was only very, very inebriated.
    Lanigan, still dressed in a house coat and slippers with bare legs, said “It’s been a lot of hard work and research, but I’ve enjoyed it.” What is so wonderful about the play and the Centennial celebration is “ the cast, the citizens, the community got together and did this.”
    Sen. Jack Hill and his wife had front-row seats, an honor bestowed upon him not just for his position but for what he has done for Portal. Hill was instrumental in getting paved sidewalks along Portal’s streets leading to the schools as well as helping the town get a grant for a water and sewer system. He also helped change laws so the town could keep its school open.
    “The play embodied the spirit of Portal,” he said during the reception. “Its past, its people.”
    The play “really touched all the points of history of this community,” he said. “It made you feel good about the future of Portal.”
    Hill said he admired the town’s cohesive attitude.
    “This community has always stuck together, and has produced so many success stories,” he said. “It’s part of their spirit. I enjoy working with them and helping them.”
    “The most wonderful thing is the whole community came together to produce this,” said Portal Mayor Larry Motes, who also played a character in the production. “It has been very educational.”
 Road dedicated to Dr. Daughtry
    Bulloch County Commissioners Walter Gibson, Anthony Simmons, Roy Thompson and Commission Chairman Garrett Nevil were also in attendance, as were state Rep. Jon Burns and his wife.
    Before the play, the commissioners made a special presentation to Mary Hutchison, producing a large road sign in honor of her mother. A portion of Rocky Ford Road in Portal was renamed the “Dr. Lela Daughtry Denmark Highway” in honor of  the elderly female doctor, to whom the Portal Centennial celebration was dedicated.
    Denmark still lives at age 110, but retired at age 103. Upon her 100th birthday, she was recognized as the oldest practicing physician in the United States.
    Denmark is the daughter of Elerbee and Alice C. Hendricks Daughtry. Her father was Portal’s first mayor. Denmark practiced medicine in the Atlanta area for nearly 70 years.
    She was unable to attend the celebration.
    “This is a great honor for all of us,” Hutchison said.
    Hill told Motes he had planned to have a resolution ready for the event commemorating the town’s 100th birthday. Although the document was not ready in time, Hill assured the crowd it was coming soon.
    “Jack has been a friend to the Town of Portal,” Motes said.

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