Atmore Jaycees voted top chapter in 1973

Published 3:13 am Wednesday, May 13, 2009

By By Lowell McGill
Some memories now from the year 1973. Roy Gandy received his Doctorate in Medicine from University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine. The 1962 ECHS graduate, as most everyone knows, is now a successful physician.
The Atmore Jaycees were voted top chapter in the state. They were recognized for their Christmas Shopping Tours for underprivileged children. Incidentally, these shopping tour were introduced by the Jaycees back in the early 1950s. I remember my good friends Sam Ford, Robert Maxwell and Robert Faircloth were among those members who initiated this program.
Boys State representatives were Ken McLeod, Rad Smith and Steve Drew. Debra Barden represented Atmore in Girls State.
Bully and Georgia Brooks opened the IGA Discount Grocery Foodliner in the Peaden Building in South Presley Street.
Brothers Pete and Clyde Helton were honored by the Escambia Soil Conservation for outstanding conservation projects.
Wayne Long, Ernest Ward High School baseball standout, received top athletic and scholastic honors at Faulkner State Junior. College. He maintained a 3.1 grade average and a 2.1 earned run pitching average for two years.
Following last weeks Mayfest, I overheard a few complaints about the lack of “rides” for the children. I ran into Sheryl (Fly) Vickery and she said she deeply regretted the fact that ride vendors elected not to come this year. The Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director said she hoped they would return next year. Asked about the miniature train that was so popular for all the youngsters (old folks as well), she said it was undergoing repairs and is expected to be “up and running” for the Williams Station Festival this fall
I spoke to Dan Allen Currie and he told me was gathering more information on Atmore’s Paul Smith, the late movie actor. Smith, who acted under the stage name of Paul Birch, was a native of Atmore and still has relatives here. Dan, who wrote the Smith internet biography, said he hoped to add more on the internet story soon.
I received a couple reports on oil drilling this week. Information is now becoming available about new permits soon to be announced, particularly east of Wayside Grocery and along Butler Street. I stay in touch with the Alabama Gas and Oil Board, as I did back when I filled the pages of my Tri City Ledger with oil drilling news in the early 1970s.
My thoughts and prayers this week are with the Rev. Dewitt Allen who is very ill in a Pensacola hospital. A member of my Sunday class, he has been hospitalized now for two weeks. As I have often reported I knew him before most of his Brooks Memorial congregation did. You see, I listened to him on WALA Radio in Mobile back in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He was one of those great sounding announcers who went on to become an outstanding minister. His was one of the last resonant voices of that era on that popular radio station.
Again, thanks for your very kind emails this week. I think I’ll just take all those emails and make it into one long column one of these days. Actually, it would take several columns if I elect to do this.
The column is a little bit short this week as I am having difficulty with my sight. An upcoming cataract operation, hopefully, will clear this all up.
As Dewitt would say back in those days after he hosted the popular early morning radio program “Coffee With The Parson”, …..“stand by…stay tuned ….and join us again the next time.”
God be with him.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

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