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Atmore's own heroes

By By Matthew Nascone
Last year saw the inaugural class of Robert Edward Hodnette, John M. Jones Sr., William Carl Madison, William Calvin Maxwell, Woodrow McCorvey Sr., Chief Calvin M. McGhee and Arthur Pershing "Tarzan" White enter the Atmore Area Hall of Fame.
This year five more of Atmore's finest were enshrined on the wall of the Atmore Public Library.
Herbert Barnes, William M. Carney, Marva Collins, Dr. Ben Maxwell and Patricia McKenzie took their place among Atmore's heroes Saturday night at the Atmore Area YMCA &Community Center.
"I thought the ceremony went smoothly and that was the vibe we got from the people in attendance," AAHOF committee chairman Lou Vickery said. "I was excited and I thought all the presenters had some appropriate words for who they were speaking about."
A member of the committee introduced each of the inductees' families and each speaker had some interesting family secret or fact about the inductee to share with the crowd.
The idea for the AAHOF was spurned six years ago in a conversation Vickery had with 2007 inductee Dr. Ben Maxwell, the first fateful meeting for the committee occurred Jan. 17, 2006 and the rest is what they call history. The second class of the AAHOF marks the ongoing push to recognize citizens who have made a contribution to the Atmore way of life.
And the Barnes Boys have become known in Atmore as former players of 2007 inductee Herbert Barnes. There were about 15 in attendance Saturday evening.
"It was great to see a bunch of the Barnes Boys out there in the crowd," Vickery said.
Vickery said he would like to thank all involved with the Hall of Fame, including, the AAHOF committee, First National Bank &Trust, United Bank, Cathy McKinley and Atmore Public Library, Creek Indian Enterprises, the Progressive Civic and Recreational Club, The Atmore Advance and "Atmore News."
Nita Trammell and What's Cooking provided dinner for the event. Rev. Willie Hawthorne gave the invocation and Rev. Dan Rhodes offered the benediction. Atmore mayor Howard Shell also offered a few words about the Hall.
A statement explaining the reason for the Atmore Area Hall of Fame was at the end of the program handed out Saturday night. It reads, "The purpose of the Atmore Area Hall of Fame is to recognize Atmoreans (natives who were born or attended school in Atmore) and transplants who have made outstanding contributions in the areas of business, medicine, government, military, education, theater, ministry and sports."