The jaycees, jaycettes received recognition

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Several years ago when Bob Morresette was publishing the Atmore Advance, he staged a political rally for his college classmate, Sen. Howell Heflin. The event was held at Billy Duffield’s lake home here.

He also invited another classmate, Hayden Riley, who was on the University of Alabama coaching staff. In addition, many local and area dignitaries and businessmen were in attendance.

Knowing he would be involved with details of the rally, he asked me to come along and help write up the story, which he would send to the Mobile Press Register.

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It was really a Who’s Who for Democrats as most of those in attendance were affiliated with that party.

One of the highlights of the evening was Heflin dishing a takeoff and impersonation of former Washington County Rep. Frank Boykin. This long time legislator was known for antics and interesting sayings. One of his famous sayings was “Everything was meant for Love.” He had a unique personality and was blessed with his quick wits.

Bob also invited a comedian-type speaker who had the ability to “mock” just about any well-known personality. I do not remember who this man was, but I do know he brought the house down with his impersonations.

Our own well-liked Dud Troutman was also on the program and he gave impressions of some of our local dignitaries. He was given several rounds of applause for his voice impersonations of banker Johnnie Jones and businessman Dee Gibbs.

Riley, by the way, was the uncle of former University of Alabama football player and current Nebraska football coach, Mike Riley.

The event was climaxed by a giant fish fry.

Now, let’s take a look at some news from 1954 and 1955.

In 1955, the Atmore jaycees and jaycettes were recognized for outstanding service to the community. One of their most popular fundraising drives was gathering funds for the underprivileged Christmas shopping tour. Many young children were taken to participating merchants, where they shopped free with hearts delight due to efforts of these two fine organizations.

Jaycee officers that year were George Keenan, Sam Ford, Taylor Faircloth, Robert Faircloth, James Forte, Robert Maxwell and Elam Fayard.

The jaycettes’ officers were Virginia Ford, Ernestine Miniard, Thelma Pitts, Janelle Forte, Billy Gilbert and Sarah Fayard.

Two Escambia County High School students were selected to attend Boy’s State at UA. They were Bobby Barnes and Gordon Bryars. Sponsors of the two, respectively, were American Legion Post No. 90 and the Atmore Lions Club.

Sam Jack Cassidy received an honor for accomplishments as a member of the Crimson Tide football team. The former star ECHS running back was on scholarship at the capstone.

J. Whisinant, well-known principal at Escambia County Training School, resigned from his position for a promotional move with the Anniston School System.

In 1954, after returning from a Camp Stewart training excursion, the Atmore National Guard unit gave a letter of appreciation to Roy “Red” Powell for his many years of service. A corporal in the guard, he was regarded as a “do it all” type. He was particularly talented in woodworking and repairing items necessary to the operation. Commanding Officer Lt. Mason Montgomery stated “Cpl. Powell literally kept our unit in tack. If we had a break down or needed something built in a hurry Red would take care of it, he was just that good.”

Other officers in the unit included, Lts. Nathan Little, James H. Shirley and Charles D. Bryan.

Roy Kinard of Silverhill brought in the first bale of cotton. It was processed at Curries Gin.

Long time local Alabama Power Co. head Murray Greer was promoted to a higher level and moved to the Eufaula company headquarters. Tommy Hand took over at the local office following Greer’s promotion.

Several from here traveled to Montgomery that year to attend a statewide celebration in memory of Alabama native Hank Williams.

The Advance featured a story and photo of a huge Bobcat, which was killed near the homes of northwest Florida’s Lewis and J.D. Long. The Longs said their dogs “treed” the cat in a very tall tree. Members of the community reportedly came by to get a look at it on display near their homes.

In 1954, a group of Auburn forestry students dove into Little River State Park waters  near the Highway 21 bridge and rescued a small child and his dog. It was a daring rescue as they had to fight the onrushing waters and foliage. Students from Auburn came to the park area each summer for forestry field training.

In a dab of news from 1966, we learned that Yancey State College in Bay Minette changed its name to Faulkner State Community College in honor of that town’s mayor, James (Jimmy Faulkner).

Next week, we have more news from days and years gone by.