Many people have helped improve our fair city

Published 6:01 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Atmore was fortunate to have had — and to still have — great people who devoted their time and efforts to wonderful causes that made our community a better place to live.

I remember when Red Vickery returned to Atmore, following a successful career as a member of the University of Georgia football team. He devoted time to Atmore’s young men by taking them to Mobile Bears baseball games and Southeastern Conference football games in Mobile. Through his SEC affiliation, he was quite
successful coming up with football game tickets.

Leon Akins told me one time Red took some of the Blue Devils team members to Mobile to watch the Bears play the Atlanta Crackers. One of Red’s college teammates was a coach on that team. Leon said, “Everybody was thrilled getting a chance to meet members of the Atlanta ball team.” Back in those days that baseball league was called The Southern League. It was made up of the Mobile Bears, the Memphis Chicks, the Louisiana Pelicans, the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Knoxville Smokies, the Nashville Vols, the Arkansas Travelers, the Birmingham Barons and the Atlanta Crackers.

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Dr. Hugh Long spent much time on the sidelines looking after local high school athlete’s football injuries. Having established his practice here in the 1970s, he still finds time to look after these athletes. He also devotes time to The Gideons, the Atmore Prison Farm ministry and as a Sunday school teacher at Brooks Memorial Baptist Church. As a member of his Sunday school class, I regard him as one of the best teachers I have ever had.

In the 1950s, attorney Robert Maxwell spearheaded Atmore Jaycee fund raising drives, raising money for underprivileged children. One of his favorite projects was the annual Christmas Shopping Tour, where these kids were taken to local businesses to receive Christmas toys and clothing. His resonant singing voice is still enjoyed today at Atmore First Baptist Church. His voice and the voice of the former Jeannie Keller blended beautifully in duets, back in the 1940s and 1950s.

Twinette Watson, a native Atmorian , took her talents to Judson College, where she helped many Atmore young ladies find college success and employment.

Over the years, dating back to the 1940s, Atmore’s Little League and Babe Ruth League received honors and recognition from such leaders as Charles and Root Lowery, Kimbrel Cunningham, Buddy Vickery, Weldon Vickery, Joe Everette, Claude Steele, Wheeler Crook, Tony Albert, Bill Hendricks, Gene Akins, Murray Johnson and many more.

Now, in some news from 1970, the Bratt Volunteer Fire Department elected these officers: Charles Lowery, Robert Stewart, Thomas Bradberry, Lamar O’Farrell, Colvin Davis, Lester Godwin, Douglas Morgan and Hubert Brown.

The Rev. Dewitt Allen was called as the new pastor at Brooks Memorial Church after serving three years at Court Street Baptist Church in Montgomery.

Dr. C.S. Crawford was named chief of staff at Greenlawn Hospital.
The Huntsville, Ala., youth league named its Whitesburg field the Fern Bell Park, in honor of his association and accomplishments with that league.

The Atmore Jaycees captured state honors in the drive to sell honey, a project that benefitted retarded children’s Partlow Camp. Terry Jones was chairman of the Atmore organization.
Jack Madison and James Charles Madison led Atmore’s peewee football team to the city championship.

Sponsored by The First National Bank, the players were Robby Ferguson, Jay Blackshear, Dusty Harrison, Jimmy Woods, Marty and Mike Hadley, Tommy Pickens, Chuck Madison, Pat Reeves, Ed Staff, Bryan Flowers, Allen White, Steve Dees, Dough McAnalley, Steve McGill, Randy Miller and Tony Luker.

Now here is some great news for those of you who are following the development and construction of the Airbus site in Mobile. This week, the French company received another order for commercial planes to be built in Mobile. They are opening up applications for employment, and anticipate production beginning next year.
You should take a trip to the site and marvel at the entrance and terrain. It’s taking on a look of “total brilliance,” according to one national designing firm. Right now there are no less than eight dozen adjacent towns and communities vying for compatible “off shoot” business sites. And, our mayor Jim Staff tells us Atmore is seeking one of those supply house locations too. Let’s hope we get one with plenty of jobs for everyone.

Next week, we will take a look at another year depicting more glorious and nostalgic events from the “yesteryears.”

You can email Lowell McGill at