Entering the Hall

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, May 2, 2018

7 inducted into Atmore Area Hall of Fame

The importance of family was a common theme for each of the new inductees of the Atmore Area Hall of Fame.

Seven were inducted into the 2018 class at a celebration on April 28 at The Club in Atmore.

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This year’s class includes Stephanie Bryan, Willie Parker, Earl Miller, Weldon Vickrey, Dale Ash, Bill Farr and Joan Helton Crawford.

After a dinner, each inductee, or those speaking on their behalf, gave a speech after being introduced by a family member or friend.

Stephanie Bryan

Bryan, the current Tribal chairman and CEO of the Poarch Creek Indians, credited her staff, and more importantly, her family for the honor.

“It’s not about me, it takes a lot of teamwork to be successful,” she said.

Bryan spoke about her childhood, recalling some fond memories of working in the garden with Otha Martin, and all that she learned as a child.

“As kids, we didn’t have much, but we (the Tribe) had the most important thing money can’t buy — love,” she said.

Bryan said one of the most important things about life is a relationship.

“When you have positive relationships, then comes success,” she said.

Bryan said even though she came from a humble beginning, her everyday motivation is the future generations of Tribal members.

“Without Him (God), we have nothing, and with Him, we have everything,” she said.

Willie Parker

Football is to Willie Parker as pollen is to a honeybee.

Parker, the long time educator, coach and author recalled memories of his days a coach.

A memory that stood out to him involved him visiting a recruit’s home one Sunday afternoon.

I had to wade through the water to get to his house,” Parker said.

Parker credited his family, his upbringing and friends for getting him to where he is today.

“My mother was a phenomenal woman,” he said, adding that he was one of six children. “She taught us to love everybody. She taught us many things.”

Earl Miller

Miller spoke about growing up in Atmore, and playing ball on a field near Vanity Fair.

“As coaches would tell you, you don’t do this by yourself,” he said.

Miller said his wife and three kids have been a big part of the award recognition.

Miller said his baseball teams at G.W. Long bought into the program, and added that the community of Skipperville is a good one.

“If there was anything we did, they supported it,” he said.

Miller said his parents sacrificed a lot so he and his brothers could participate in extra curricular activities. He was a three-sport athlete.

“They sacrificed a lot; my dad, he loved it,” he said.

Miller said his junior and high school coaches took on a parental influence on him. He said those coaches included C.P. Floyd, Eugene Madison and Billy Madison.

Miller thanked his teachers for supporting and pushing him as a student, along with his career as an educator.

Weldon Vickrey

Vickrey’s wife, Kay, spoke on behalf of Weldon at the banquet.

“He is a very hard-working man,” she said. “Weldon does well with his government work, and he has a very green thumb.”

Kay said her husband has always been interested in the social sciences, adding that every time NASA talks about a new star, planet or galaxy, he perks up with keen interest.

Kay said Weldon was a good cotton picker.

“At 12 years old, he was out picking cotton,” she said.

She told of a story of when Weldon picked some 411 pounds of cotton to another man’s 389 pounds to win a bet.

“He loves competition,” she said.

Weldon worked at a paper mill for 44 years.

“He’s free hearted,” she said. “He worked for what he had.”

Kay also spoke of Weldon’s efforts as a county commissioner, namely the new jail, health center and satellite courthouse, to name a few.

“All of this was done because God allowed him to be with a great group of men on the county commission,” she said.

Dale Ash

Ash said her HOF induction honors her parents.

“I hope the values I’ve learned have been passed on to our companies,” she said. “Momma never let us forget the importance of teamwork.”

Ash, who is a co-owner of Pepsi Cola Co. in Atmore, then talked of her parents, and the importance they instilled in her by living by the Bible verse, Philippians 4:13.

Ash said her brother and sister also played huge parts of the company.

She said one thing that her mom told her always stands out to her.

“As momma said, you can never out give God, but you can try,” she said.

Bill Farr

Farr’s wife, Shirley, and his son, Billy, spoke on Farr’s behalf.

“My dad was a great men to me,” he said. “Dad taught me how to work.

“The one common denominator is that all of the inductees tonight are really hard workers,” he said. “The main thing is that he believed in his savior, Jesus Christ.”

Shirley said Farr loved Atmore, and contributed a lot for the American Heart Association.

“I’m proud of him,” she said. “Bill loved Atmore, and he did all he could for it because he loved his home.”

Joan Helton


Crawford’s son, Dr. Ken Helton, thanked the committee for inducting his mother into the hall of fame, adding that his father urged him to do something other than farming.