Highway to be dedicated

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017

There will be a highway dedication ceremony for the William C. Holman Correctional Officer who was killed last fall.

The Kenneth L. Bettis Memorial Highway Dedication will be held on Mon., Oct. 16, at 10 a.m. at Coastal Alabama Community College on the Atmore Campus.

The dedication is a result of the passage of House Joint Resolution 12, which was passed and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey during the 2017 General Session.

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The ceremony is being coordinated by the Alabama Department of Corrections, the Alabama Department of Transportation and CACC.

The original resolution and subsequent memorial signage was prompted by fellow coworkers of Bettis at Holman Prison with Hayden Sizemore and William Despain leading that effort on behalf of the Holman staff in honoring the life and work of their friend and colleague, Rep. Alan Baker said in an email. Baker was the main sponsor of the bill.

“Naming a portion of Highway 21 that is adjacent to the Holman Prison property as the ‘Officer Kenneth Bettis Memorial Highway’ was thought to be a very fitting tribute to honor the life, work and memory of Officer Bettis,” Baker said earlier this year. “Shortly after the death of Officer Bettis this past fall, I was contacted by work colleagues of Officer Bettis from Holman Prison who shared this most worthy tribute plan and reached out to me to begin the process, which would require a House Joint Resolution, commonly known as a HJR.”

The portion of the highway that will be named after Bettis is from the intersection of Interstate 65 to the intersection of Highway 21 and Smithfield Rd.

Bettis, 44, died on Sept. 16, 2016, after being assaulted by an inmate 15 days prior at William C. Holman Correctional Facility, just outside of Atmore.

Bettis served as a corrections officer at Holman since 2009. He was a military veteran and had served on active duty in Iraq with the Alabama Army National Guard. Bettis’ military awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Service Star.

Baker said Sen. Greg Albritton and Rep. Mike Jones were also instrument in providing support and sponsorship for the resolution.

“As Officer Bettis made the ultimate sacrifice while performing his normal work duties, I grieve with and for the family, colleagues and close friends,” he said. “The enduring memory of service and sacrifice of Officer Kenneth Bettis will live on through the naming of the Memorial Highway to honor his life.”