Dr. Wilson was a great friend, citizen

Published 4:52 pm Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Not long after Dr. Harold Wilson initiated his medical practices here in the late 1950s, I became friends with him as we both worked together with the ECHS football team. He served as the medical doctor for the team and I did the radio broadcasts on WATM. He and Dr. Bancroft Cooper came to Atmore from Coffee County as medical partners.

A few months after they set up practice here, they asked me to go with them to Elba and help them move some medical equipment and supplies to Atmore. It seems there had been a big flood in and around that town, resulting from an overflow of water from the Pea River. When we got there I was surprised to see so much water damage from such a small river. I was also amazed at the name of that river. It reminded me of another river with a strange name, the Leaf River at Petal, Mississippi, which is near Hattiesburg.

We were able to get that machinery and supplies out of there and back to Atmore but while we were there I met a friend of theirs, Scooter Dyess. You see, Scooter was a rising star for Coach Paul (Bear) Bryant and the University of Alabama football team. As a member of his Elba High School football team, he set many records and won a number of outstanding awards. The doctors closely followed Dyess’s career especially with his pictures on their office walls.

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In later years, Dr. Cooper left Atmore and set up a practice in another town. But Dr. Wilson remained here, engaging in a successful practice until his retirement a couple of years ago. Extreme failing health has resulted in his having to be placed in the veteran’s nursing home in Bay Minette. Phil, his son, keeps me and others posted on his condition and we all pray for his health.

He is one of the most generous people I ever knew. He liked to help people, not just medically, but merely by doing good deeds for them. He took an interest in my oldest son, Steve. Not only did he deliver him into world, but he encouraged him in his professional career, creating a desire for him to complete requirements for his master’s degree, which led to his appointment by Gov. Bob Riley as a member of the State Pardon and Parole Board.

I know of two cases where he administered medical treatment without charging fees. I am sure there were many other cases where he did the same.

And then there was that Sugar Bowl game in New Orleans, where one of the famous Davis “boys” kicked those field goals in the U of A upset win over Ole Miss. That was the year it snowed in New Orleans and snowed here, too. He and I and a couple of more friends were at that game trying to stay warm, dodging falling snow clods from the roof of Tulane’s outdoor stadium. That 1963 (or was it 1964) game was played prior to the construction of the Superdome.

We are glad he is still with us and we will follow his stay at that veterans’ facility.

“Riding In An Ambulance Backwards” was the title of a column I wrote in 2008. In that column I wanted to create a mood for being transported to a hospital by ambulance. I explained the role of the capable and efficient EMTs who cared for me on that ride.

Riding backwards seeing through the rear window all those familiar scenes roll into the distance and having to leave home and friends behind created a solemn time of reflection. The sounds and sights I knew and loved so well quickly faded as the ambulance neared the hospital. Well, this column somehow came to the attention of the French EMT and they picked it up and used in their national magazine. I was honored by this, and even today I get emails from those who also were transported to the hospital riding backwards in the ambulance.

I write about this now, as it dawned on me yesterday my pacemaker batteries must be replaced soon. But they will not require another ambulance ride. It should be only a quick outpatient procedure.

Finally, I received a request from Lucy Tracey to remind folks about the 18th annual Hunter Appreciation Festival this Saturday Nov. 30, in Pine Apple, Alabama.

Lucy says activities will get underway at 9 a.m. and run through 4 p.m. This town, which is on the list of National Historic Sites, has also come to be known as a popular deer and turkey venue. Crafts, foods, antique cars, historical homes, contests and prizes will be featured in the daylong event. There will be special contests for hunters including a $500 cash prize for the biggest buck brought in. The David Nall Band from Andalusia will also be providing fine music and entertainment for the event.
Pine Apple is located 20 miles west of Greenville at the I-65 Highway 10 exit or 45 miles north of Monroeville.

According to Lucy, more info is available at (251) 746-2660, (251) 746-2293 or by emailing joycewall@yahoo.com.

Now, I would like to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving.

Next week we will take a look at more news and events from days gone by.

You can reach Lowell McGill by emailing exam@frontiernet.net.