Published 11:40 am Monday, October 20, 2003
McGill represents Atmore well
The success of a native son is a bittersweet thing. Everyone wants to see the young people of our community do well, get a good education, a good job, and have a decent home life.
If that young person can stay in the community and work for it, change it to make it better, serve his neighbors, then our job as a village rearing a child is done and done well.
Such is the case with one young man, an Atmore native.
Steve McGill is a graduate of Atmore schools, went on to college, played a little ball there, came back, coached a little ball here, and in the meantime became a corrections officer.
From that position he decided he would like to become a parole officer.
And like most of the other goals this young man has set for himself, he attained that goal.
He became a parole officer, and like he is prone to do, spent some time along the way helping others to reach their own goals. This time, instead of coaching, he was teaching. He taught at the Southwest Alabama Police Academy, helping others become officers and make Alabama a better place to live.
And while doing all this, he also ran for and was elected to the Escambia County Board of Education.
There, he served well in a tough position. No member of the board serves because it is a barrel of laughs. In the day of slashed budgets, higher costs for everything and higher demands placed on our schools, teachers and administrators than ever before, the members face no easy task.
But success has continued to follow McGill, and it is his success that has created a catch-22 of sorts for the people of Escambia County.
Because he is good at his job, parole officer, because he has worked hard to educate himself, and because he has experience in corrections as well as parole, McGill was tapped by Gov. Bob Riley to become a member of the Pardons and Parole Board.
But in order to serve on that board, he had to resign his position on the school board.
So if you are good at your job, serve the public well, you are promoted. But in order to be promoted, you can no longer serve.
Of course, the good news is that McGill will still be serving the people of Alabama, helping to whip the corrections system into line with budget and population constraints.
And he will no doubt be as outstanding in that capacity as he was in all the other endeavors that trained him for the job so well.
But he will be sorely missed here at home, by the other members of the board and by the schools he served.
At the same time, there is a bit of excitement in the air, perhaps felt only about politics here in the South. That excitement is stirred by the knowledge that someone from District 7 will have to be selected to fulfill McGill's term on the school board.
Let's hope we can find another as well qualified as Steve McGill.