Soy beans, arson, football wrap up 1970

Published 6:35 pm Wednesday, March 11, 2009

By By Lowell McGill
This week we are concluding our series of columns on the year 1970.
The Brooks Memorial Baptist Church got the year off to a good start by calling Rev. Dewitt Allen as their new pastor. Rev. Allen, whom I have written about on several occasions, was a well known radio and TV personality at WALA in Mobile before he received his religious theological degree. He came to the local church after having served as pastor at Court Street Baptist Church in Montgomery.
He and I are in the same Sunday School class and are very good friends. His family and my family especially enjoy our monthly senior church luncheons.
Atmore farmers yielded the largest soybean production that year. A record 26 box cars filled with quality beans were hauled to various receiving stations across the nation. Curries and Atmore Milling and Elevator were the principal shippers.
Friends and family of Novy Lee Hale were saddened of his passing. He was a warden at the local prison system, and he worked with the Alabama Department of Corrections for 31 years.
Huntsville’s Fern Bell, who was a native of the Atmore area, was honored in Huntsville for his leadership in youth sports. The Fern Bell Ball Park was erected on Whitesburg Street in his honor. Fern devoted over 10 years of volunteer work in Huntsville Little League and Babe Ruth League baseball. His sons excelled in youth sports in that city. His widow, the former Eleanor Daniels, makes her home here now.
In other sports, Eugene Madison was named head football coach at Escambia County High School. The former Junior Varsity coach succeeded Harry Hitchcock.
Former standout ECHS lineman, Danny Sanspree, received Southeastern Conference honors for his heroics in Auburn’s win over Alabama. The Tigers defeated the Crimson tide 33-20.
Jack Madison and James Charles Madison coached the local 12-13 year old Pee Wee football All-Stars to an area championship in Excel. Players on that team were Marty Hadley, Hal Johnson, Glenn Moore, Jeff Kelly, Bo Maxwell, Steve McGill, Randy Williams, Glenn Carlee, Burt Shell, Carl Cooper, Steve Brown, Pat Reeves , Ricky Snyder, Al Wright, Eddie Strawbridge, Dusty Harrison, Arnold McRae, Dempsey Bell, Donald Bell, Ed Staff, Larry Wright, Michael Akins, Tommy Strawbridge, Rob Faircloth, Billy Holk, Eddie Snyder, Billy Whitehead, Jay Blacksher, Tony Lambert, Van Henley, Wayne Moseley, Jimmy Woods, Leon Trimer, Pat Conn, Terry Norris, Danny McKinley and Kindred Moye.
Also taking honors that year were the 9-, 10- and 11-year-old All-Stars coached by Murray Johnson. Members of that team were Mike Hadley, James Bethea, Tommy Lowery, John Perkins, Todd Erickson, Dale Hollingsworth, Eddie Kenson, Scott Brooks, David Hadley, Raymond Langley, Bryan Flowers, Carl Johnson, Mark McGill, Mark Hughes, Whit Whitaker, Tommy Harrell, Bobby Joe Wilson, Gene Hendrix, Robert Hendrix, Eddie Cole, Bobby Kelly, Mike Wilson and Osborn Linam.
A rash of forest fires were brought under control by Florida authorities with the help of Charles Hubbird. The Nokomis native assisted investigators in solving several arson fires. In addition to his statewide recognition, he received cash awards from the Florida Forest Fire Department.
The Bratt Fire Department elected new officers in 1970. They included Charles Lowery, Robert Stewart, Jr, Thomas (Famous) Bradberry, Lamar O’Farrell, Colvin Davis, Lester Godwin, Douglas Morgan, and Hubert L. Brown.
ECHS student Dianne Hall won national honors at the national 4-H Convention in Chicago. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Junior Hall, she was awarded a trophy in the Food and Nutrition Division. She also had the pleasure of posing with famed movie star Roy Rogers who hosted the convention.
Joe Everett, local Standard Gas and Oil Company distributor, was given a plaque for 15 years of outstanding service. Marshall Wooten received a 10-year plaque for his affiliation with the firm
On a personal note, I will be attending my 31st National Flood Insurance Seminar next month. I am very grateful to Scott Holmes, the director of NFIP’s Direct Side and Repetitive Loss Department for having the opportunity to work for such an outstanding man. His knowledge of the NFIP and his overall leadership is recognized throughout the entire FEMA organization.
I have also enjoyed successful claims work with Ben Elder and Rebecca Russell of Elder Claims Service. Other firms and individuals I have been affiliated with over the years are Roy Guffey, Doug Branham, Pat Brown and Charter Claims Service.
Working with these fine people and organizations have afforded me the opportunity to work flood claims in 38 states. I suppose that is one of the reasons my interest in geography is so high. It has also been invaluable inspiration for me in writing these columns.
I value all those wonderful people I have met over these 31 years. I also consider it like gaining another “college education” having traveled to these many cities and towns where floods and hurricanes occurred. While I now only travel to areas inside a 300-mile radius, I still get a thrill, even at my age, to help those who are displaced by water related disasters.
I’ll begin another series of columns next week on years gone by.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

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