WINNSBORO, TX (KLTV) - The mayor of Winnsboro declared June 8 be known as "Sammy Bell Day" in honor of a pharmacist who has practiced in the area for more than 50 years.
Sammy Bell, R. Ph. marked his 50th year as a practicing pharmacist on Friday. He first got his license on June 8, 1968.
"I had a construction job, running a 90 lb. jackhammer and I thought, 'there's bound to be a better way than this," Bell said.
A conversation with Bell's family pharmacist was just enough to convince him the field was right for him. And, there are many people who are glad it happened.
"I first came to Winnsboro as a traveling salesman selling apparel," said Tommy Teague, Bell's friend and long-time customer. "My customer and I walked across the street to Sammy's drug store and had coffee. I moved to Winnsboro about a decade later, and he has been my pharmacist ever since."
Teague said what makes Bell stand out is his dedication to the job, and to the people.
"You're not going to find anyone around here more appreciated than Sammy Bell," Teague added.
"I'm truly blessed to have been here this long," said Bell. "It's not just me, it's the people that have helped me along the way."
Bell hasn't just made an impact on his customers, but on the man who, at one time, served as Bell's competition.
"His pharmacy, he always had an open door," said Scott Parton. "I was literally probably in his pharmacy 3 to 4 times a month, asking him questions about business, how to run a business."
Parton owns 'Scott's Pharmacy', not far from where Bell's own pharmacy was once open. When life began slowing down, Bell sold his drug store. But, where one door closed, another opened -- and it was a familiar face on the other side.
"He came here one day and said, 'Do you need some help?' And it was Sammy Bell, so yes, obviously we need some help," Parton laughed.
That's where you'll find him today -- still working behind the counter. At 73-years-old, Bell is still serving customers like he owned the place.
"My name is on the building, ya know, this is Scott's Pharmacy, but people come in looking for Sammy," Parton said.
His schedule may not be as full as it once was, but Bell said he doesn't see any reason why he can't continue helping his community... like it was 1968 all over again.
"I'm 73-years-old, but I don't feel that old," Bell said. "I guess I'll do this as long as I can. If they don't get tired of me."
"Lot's of people work for 50 years -- it's a great accomplishment," Parton remarked. "For [Bell] to put 50 years behind the counter, taking care of one community is, to me, is remarkable."
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