Beach accesses named after longtime public servants recognized

OKALOOSA ISLAND — As the fronds of newly-planted palms flapped in a frigid wind, about 70 people bundled up by the beach on a 42-degree Monday afternoon to honor two lifelong public servants.

The group braved the cold at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to honor former longtime state Rep. Jerry Melvin and former longtime Okaloosa County Commissioner Mike Mitchell.

The ceremony took place at the county’s No. 4 beach access at 600 Santa Rosa Blvd. Attendees celebrated the No. 4 access being named the “Jerry Melvin Beachwalk” and the No. 6 access at 820 Santa Rosa Blvd. being named the “Mike Mitchell Beachwalk.”

The county oversaw numerous upgrades to those accesses, as well as the No. 5 access, earlier this year.

Melvin was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1968, a position he was re-elected to for five consecutive terms. He retired from his position in 1978, but returned to serve in the House from 1994 until 2002.