Take a look at me now

Published 9:43 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2006

By By Janet Little Cooper
For the past 28 years the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce has presented an individual with the Citizen of Year Award at its annual Chamber banquet.
The Chamber first started the award presentation in 1978. A committee compiled of the Chamber President, Immediate past President, one past Citizen of the Year, and two selected individuals meet each year to look over submitted applications. Qualified applicants must be individuals who have made contributions to the community and the people over the past year.
At last weeks 60th annual Chamber of Commerce meeting, Jane and Ellen Corman were recognized as the Citizens of the Year for 2005. After the mother and daughter duo were awarded this prestigious award, it seemed fitting to take a look at the past recipients and catch a glimpse of what they are doing today.
1981 Citizen of the Year
John Garrard, Jr.
Mr. John Garrard, Jr. was awarded the Citizen of the Year award in 1981 by Pensacola Mayor Vince Whibbs. Garrard was recognized for his willingness to give unselfishly of his energy, time and resources to the betterment of the community. Garrard, who taught at Escambia County High School for four years, was serving as the President of First National Bank at the time of the award.
Mr. Garrard retired from First National Bank as President and CEO 25 years ago. He was appointed as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors when he retired Jan. 31, 1986. He continues to be active in numerous civic and church organizations. He is the Chairman-Emeritus of the Atmore Public Library, a charter member and treasurer of the Atmore Historical Society, City Council member and treasurer of Meals on Wheels, and a member of the Escambia County Children's Council, helping the 9,400 children of this county.
1982 Citizen of the Year
Raymond L. Bolden
Mr. Raymond L. Bolden was awarded the Citizen of the Year award in 1982 for his work in the community by Robert Maxwell. Bolden, a Birmingham native, came to Atmore 14 years earlier to take the job as president of Bank of Atmore. During his term, the bank became known as United Bank in 1982 under a merger agreement that created a multi-bank holding company. The bank saw total assets grow to over $68 million in this time. Mr. Bolden was also instrumental in the construction of the medical complex across from the hospital. He was chairman of the Atmore Medical Clinic Board.
Mr. Bolden retired from United Bank as the bank president in 1993. He was active in many civic organizations such as president of the Lion's Club at one time and president of the Chamber of Commerce. Since his retirement, Bolden has stepped down from many of his civic responsibilities allowing the young people of Atmore to step up in his place. He continues to stay busy working as the manager of the Atmore Country Club.
1990 Citizen of the Year
Mary Grissett
Mrs. Mary Grissett was awarded the Citizen of the Year award in 1990 for her hard work in the education field of Atmore and Escambia County by Rusty Luttrell. Grissett was still teaching at the time of the award. She was also involved in the YMCA advisory board where she had served as chairman, a United Fund board member, American Legion Auxiliary, President of the Atmore Jaycettes Service League and March of Dimes. She was also awarded Escambia County Teacher of the Year in 1985-86.
Since 1990, Grissett has retired from teaching in 1997. Upon her retirement she and her husband bought their current business, Escambia Lawn and Garden where she works daily. She continues to serve on the Atmore Public Library Board, is a member of the Friends of the Library, and works closely with the Chamber of Commerce on different committees as they arise and is a former board member of Turtle Point Environmental Center.
1992 Citizen of the Year
Randal and Judith Adams
Randal and Judith Adams were awarded the Citizen of the Year award in 1992 by David Andress for their dedication to the arts in Atmore. The couple was recognized for their many productions that included The Music Man, The Wizard of Oz, and Oklahoma. The couple was extremely active with the Atmore Arts Council. Judith was busy teaching ballet, tap, and jazz while Randall stayed busy working in the church music programs at St. Roberts Catholic Church and Trinity Episcopal.
Since 1992 Randal has taken over the family business, Atmore Glass, after the death of his parents. He and Judith now have a two-year-old child that keeps them both busy.
1995 Citizen of the Year
Elise S. Crook
Ms. Elise S. Crook was awarded the Citizen of the Year award in 1995 by Rev. Tim Trent for her work as president of the local chapter of Red Cross during Hurricanes Erin and Opal. She was also recognized as a former teacher, member of Daughters of the American Revolution, American Historical Society, PTA, Boy Scouts and Little League, Atmore Cemetery Committee, Retired Teachers Association and the Library Board.
Mrs. Crook continues to be active in several civic and church organizations. She is a member of the Atmore Historical Society and the Daughters of the American Revolution. She is actively involved in the First United Methodist Women's group and teaches Sunday school.
1996 Citizen of the Year
Jim Corman
Mr. Jim Corman was awarded the Citizen of the Year award in 1996 by Richard Maxwell for his devotion to the community through the development of Touch 1, his church work, civic work and volunteer work.
Mr. Corman has retired in terms of being a full time business executive since 1996. He has taken a more active role in the Corman Foundation serving as president. He has also been retained by the city as the project manager of the cities I-65 development. Corman is also working actively with the Industrial Development Authority.
1997 Citizen of the Year
Frances Dunn
Mrs. Frances Dunn was awarded the Citizen of the Year award in 1997. Nancy Helton, Gabby Dortch, Sheilo Faircloth presented her the award and Renee Godwin presented the award to Mrs. Dunn. She was recognized for her leadership in the chamber of commerce, the downtown Merchants Association and her idea of Williams Station Day. Dunn was also instrumental in the revitalization of downtown Atmore.
Dunn has recently retired from her business of Jasmine's Place and continues to help her husband at their jewelry store, Earle's.
1998 Citizen of the Year
Robert R. Jones, III
Mr. Robert R. Jones, III was awarded the Citizen of the Year award in 1998 for his community service and business contributions. During his term as president of the Atmore Chamber of Commerce, Williams Station Day began, as well as Leadership Atmore and the Chamber Ambassadors.
Jones continues to serve as President of United Bank where it has grown from four offices to 15.
He serves on the Atmore Medical Clinic Board, Escambia County Industrial Development Board and Coastal Gateway Development.
2000 Citizen of the Year
Bishop E. Lyons, Sr.
Mr. Bishop E. Lyons, Sr. was awarded the Citizen of the Year award in 2000. Mary Grissett, Eldred Pritchett, David Swift and Joyce Bolden presented the award to Lyon's. He was recognized for his involvement in the Escambia County School System, Teacher's Association, the Atmore Utilities Board, and Board of Director for the Atmore Chamber of Commerce, member of the American Red Cross and a member of the United Fund.
Lyons retired from teaching in 1986. He continues to be involved in many civic and church organizations. He just recently stepped down from the position of Chairman for the Atmore Public Library Board. He served for 10 years.
2002 Citizen of the Year
Sherry Digmon
Ms. Sherry Digmon was awarded the Citizen of the Year award in 2002 for her many civic and charitable contributions by Bob Gowing. She was singled out for her recent work with the creation of "Atmore" the magazine.
Digmon has just celebrated her fifth year with Atmore Magazine and has now added a weekly newspaper, Atmore News that previewed on June 15, 2005. Digmon continues to serve as a member of the Atmore Lions Club and is a member of the Friends of the Library Board.
2003 Citizen of the Year
Rob Faircloth
Mr. Rob Faircloth was awarded the Citizen of the Year award in 2003 for his many contributions to the city and civic efforts by Taylor Faircloth. He was active as Chamber of Commerce Board member, member of United Fund, on the board of Atmore Public Library, and a Charter member of Atmore's Strategic Planning and Steering Committee.
Faircloth is currently "engulfed with trying to impersonate a banker" with his new job as Senior Vice President of Financial Services at First National Bank and Trust. He continues to maintain the grounds and facilities of Heritage Park and serves as the Chairman of the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority.
2004 Citizen of the Year
Mayor Howard Shell
Mayor Howard Shell was awarded the Citizen of the Year award by Emilie Mims in 2004 for excelling above the duties of a mayor. Shell went above and beyond the call of duty in the days and months following Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis.
Shell continues to serve the city of Atmore as Mayor. He said that he has the good fortune to have excellent people to work with in Atmore. He continues to support groups and individuals who are working diligently in the re-growth of the area.
The following people have passed away since being named as Citizen of the Year or were honored posthumously.
1979 – Mayor Patricia P. McKenzie
1980 – William F. Farr
1983 – Sarah S. Fayard
1984 – Leslie Miles Horn
1985 – Ellen H. Maddox
1986 – Ben L. Haley
1987 – G.R. Swift
1988 – Ulay K. Wise
1989 – Charles "Bud" Mayson and Alice R. Mayson (posthumously)
1991 – Virginia H. King
1993 – Benjamin C. Maxwell
1994 – John Henderson (posthumously)
The following Citizens of the Year no longer live in the Atmore area.
1978 – Nathan H. Gross
1999 – Sally Pits
2001 – Rev. J. Kelly Brown
The following were chosen to receive the Lifetime Achievement award which was established in 1996 to recognize citizens whose contributions over a lifetime have helped to positively shape the community. Charlotte Boyle was given the award at last weeks chamber banquet.
1996 – James Thomas (posthumously)
1997 – Hugo Esneul, Jr.
1998 – J.B. Swift, Jr.
1999 – William F. Corman (posthumously)
2002 – Dottie Padgett
2003 – Charles Karrick (posthumously)
2004 – Hooper Matthews.

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