12 inducted into the 2023 class of the Atmore Area Hall of Fame

Published 4:27 pm Sunday, May 7, 2023

Twelve people who made a significant impact were inducted into the 2023 class of the Atmore Area Hall of Fame May 6 at The Club.

The AAHOF holds an induction every year to pay tribute to the achievements and memory of individuals who have brought honor and fame to Atmore. This year’s induction ceremony was the first one held since the COVID pandemic began.

Those inducted included (living) Dean Bushnell, Sara Davis, Lori Stinson, Willie J. Grissett and Bill Vickery; and (deceased) Mickey Cannon, James Barnett, James R. Gohagin, Sam J. Cassity, John Watkins, Douglas Webb and Stanley Childress.

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AAHOF Committee Chairman Billy Madison read the biographies of Barnett, Cannon, Cassity and Childress before presenting a plaque to members of their families.

  • James Barnett

Barnett’s children, Shannon, Randal and Jason received the honor.

“Dad loved the city of Atmore,” Jason said. “He always approached people, and loved what he did for Atmore.”

  • Mickey Cannon

Cannon’s son, Michael, thanked the committee for the honor on behalf of the Cannon family.

“Dad loved Atmore, my mother and coaching,” Michael said. “Atmore held a special place in his heart.”

  • Rufus “Sam Jack” Cassity

Cassity’s nephew, Randy Nichols, thanked the committee for the honor.

“He meant a lot to me,” Nichols said. “I thought he hung the moon.”

  • Stanley Childress

Gloria, wife of Stanley, thanked the committee for the recognition.

AAHOF Committee Member Ann Gordon presented Watkins, Webb and Gohagin.

  • John Watkins

Harold Dailey received the honor for Watkins.

Dailey said Watkins, a barber, would give him advice that stayed with him through his life.

“He said let your name stand for something,” Dailey said.

  • Douglas Webb

Lee J. Stuckey said Webb had morals that never wavered.

“He loved Atmore,” Stuckey said. “He loved everybody here.”

  • Rayford Gohagin

Dauphin Gohagin accepted the honor for the family.

“This means a lot to my family,” Gohagin said. “I thank the hall of fame committee, and the (Escambia County High School) class of 1966.”

For the living inductees, committee members and close friends presented the honorees.

  • Dean Bushnell

“This is a really big surprise to me, and a bigger surprise to those who know me,” Bushnell said. “I had really great teachers.”

Bushnell said he was raised in a family with strong family values.

“I spent 33 years in the (U.S.) Army,” he said. “I want to thank the leaders in the Army because they believed in me more than myself.”

  • Sara Davis

Charlotte Boyle presented Davis at the ceremony.

“Sara had a heart for children, and a deep love of children,” Boyle said.

Davis, looking at her family that sat stage right, said she couldn’t remember a time when her family wasn’t there for her.

She thanked the hall of fame for recognizing her efforts.

“What an honor to be selected to the Atmore Area Hall of Fame,” Davis said.

Davis spoke and thanked her friends, but most importantly, she said her greatest acknowledgement goes to God.
An educator, Davis recalled a story when she first started teaching in 1971. She called her mother, and told her not a child in her classroom can learn.

After a pause, Davis said her mother came back on the phone, and said, “You listen to me; every child in that classroom can learn.”

“Then she said, ‘Don’t you forget this; you haven’t taught until every child has learned,’” Davis said. “I worked every day, and made every effort that every child can learn.”

  • Willie J. Grissett

Grissett thanked the committee and those in attendance.

  • Lori Stinson

Stinson said one can achieve amazing things and have an impact in the world in Atmore.

“I wouldn’t be here tonight without His divine strength,” Stinson said. “I share in this honor with my daughters.”
• Billy Vickery

Vickery thanked the committee, and spoke about his early days in athletics.

Some 210 people attended the induction program.