From the Courthouse to your House (March 2017)

“Everybody Needs One”

By:  David Money

There are many ‘buzz’ words, phrases and texting acronyms floating around today: ‘fake news’ – ‘going forward’ – ‘at the end of the day’ – ‘LOL’ – ‘SMH’ – “BFF” and countless of others. There is another one that has been around awhile…but, in the past few years, is being used more and more: ‘mentor.’ With the traditional family structure having undergone a drastic change over the years, there are many single parent families with children in need of a father or mother figure. Fortunately, there are many organizations addressing those needs (Boys & Girls Clubs, church groups, civic clubs, etc.) Although it has been around for centuries, we hear the term ‘mentoring’ used more today than ever before.

For me, mentoring began 50 years ago this spring. Our parents had divorced and I was living with my grandparents in Shorterville. I had no plans to go to college until Uncle Lindy paid my tuition and told me in no uncertain terms that I was going to Wallace Junior College (now Wallace Community College) and play on its first baseball team. He and his brothers (Bob, Coy, Jimmy, Hawley, Knocker) always made sure that I had a summer job, a little ‘jingle’ in my pocket and nice cars to date on each weekend (Chevy Impala Super Sports with 327’s and floor shifts – this was before we got into the Ford business.) Once at Wallace, I met the first non-family mentor I ever had – Wallace Baseball and Basketball Coach Johnny Oppert. He knew my family situation and realized that I may not be running with high character guys. He and Mr. Jack Carr had offices in the gymnasium and mandated that I report to them every day. They found me things to do (like going across campus to get hot water for Mr. Carr’s ‘sea rations.’) Years later it became clear that Coach Oppert gave me those menial jobs just so he could keep an eye on me – and make sure I stayed out of trouble. On baseball trips, he often assigned me to room with him. I no doubt learned more about life from him during those two baseball seasons than at any other time in my life. He taught me to be make good decisions (and to take full responsibility for the bad ones I did make) – as well as to be accountable to others, to be respectful of authority and try to live a life of integrity.

Coach Oppert still lives in his home town of Dothan and is now approaching 80. Although he is battling some medical issues, he continues to have that great sense of humor as well as that intense competitive spirit. On March 11th, Wallace College honored the first baseball team. Eleven of the fifteen players on that 1967 team returned to be recognized and honored in a pre-game ceremony.

The highlight of the day for me was hearing those guys express the same feelings about Coach Oppert that I have. We talked of his leadership, his discipline, his teaching and obviously his coaching. He was a mentor to most of us. On that Saturday, he was asked to throw out the first pitch before the Wallace /Alabama Southern game. I reminded him that when George Bush threw out the first pitch in old Yankee Stadium after the 9-11 tragedy, Derek Jeter told the president, ‘Don’t bounce it.’ You might remember that President Bush fired a perfect strike. Last Saturday, I told Coach Oppert that if he needed to move up to about half way between the mound and home plate, we’d all understand. He looked at me and said, ‘Are you serious!’ He nailed it…right down the middle. We never doubted he would.

Mentoring is not easy. It requires time, patience, understanding…and you have to have a heart for it. It’s a calling…a spiritual gift. And it’s needed more now than ever. I hope we never pass on the opportunity to be one for someone else. We all need one…and I’m thankful that in 1967 there was one there for me.

30 Day Update:

• February probate activity was as follows: four wills probated, two involuntary commitments, one guardianship/conservatorship, one administration, one legitimation, three final settlements, six miscellaneous hearings and ten marriage licenses issued.

• Citizens with last names beginning with ‘C’ or ‘E’ have today and tomorrow to renew your tags without penalty. Those with last names beginning with ‘F’ – ‘G’ – ‘N’ will renew your tags in April.

• March 2-5 – I was very honored to serve with 100+ others (including 25 to 30 Henry County citizens) on Bethlehem Walk to Emmaus #31 – your participation and service is always encouraged.

• March 7 – Attended the Wallace College Foundation Board meeting. Dozens of Henry County students benefit each semester from scholarships provided by the Foundation. Please check out scholarship opportunities available at: www.wallace.edu/scholarships

• March 11 – It was a lot of fun joining a dozen other guys from the first Wallace baseball team (1967) for a pre-game ceremony at the college. The Wallace staff made it a special day for us.

• March 13 – met with Ronnie Davis and board members of the Wiregrass R.C. & D Council as they awarded $32,000.00 in grants to various Henry County agencies. They are very community-minded.

• March 18 – A family engagement prevented me from attending the groundbreaking for the new addition at Greater Shiloh Baptist Church in Headland. Delvick and Lori McKay, as well as their church family, are involved in many things to help the citizens of Henry County.

• March 22 – I attended the SARCOA Executive Committee and Board meetings in Dothan.
Dates to Remember:

• April 3 – Wiregrass legislative delegation at the Dothan Chamber office today.

• April 4 – I look forward to the Community Wide Prayer Breakfast at 7:30 in the Dothan Civic Center. The speaker will be former University of Alabama and New York Yankee baseball player, Andy Phillips. (‘Bama’ & ‘Yankee’ go together like peanut butter & jelly.)

• April 4 – Scott Farmer from SEARP&DC will host an 11:00 public meeting in the Probate Court Room. Subject: “Human Services Coordinated Transportation Plan”

• April 6 – The Abbeville Chamber of Commerce will host students from the Henry County Youth Leadership Program at their noon luncheon today.

• April 6-9 – My favorite event on the sports calendar begins today – ‘The Master’s’ from Augusta National. That plus ‘The Final Four’ and the beginning of the major league baseball season are a few of the reasons that April (and October) are the two best sports months of the year.

• April 10 – Our Henry County Youth Leadership students will visit the Hyundai Assembly plant south of Montgomery – they will gain a better understanding of the world of robotics.

• April 11 – April Administrative meeting – 9:00 AM – Probate Court Room

• April 11 – April Commission meeting – 10:30 AM – Probate Court Room (Visit our meeting and have a chance to win a homemade pie.)

• April 14 – Good Friday

• April 16 – Easter Sunday

• April 17 – Headland Chamber Showcase – Headland Square – 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM

• April 19 – The Henry County Youth Leadership students will visit the State House, the Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion today – this will be the final outing of the 2016/17 year.

• April 20 – Wallace College Foundation’s “Golf ‘Fore’ Scholarships” golf tournament at Highland Oaks in Dothan. Henry County student scholarships are funded through the efforts of the Foundation Board.

• April 24 – Confederate Memorial Day

• April 27/28 – The Alabama Probate Judges Association’s annual conference will be held at the Capstone Hotel and at the Alabama Law School in Tuscaloosa.

• April 27/30 – Bethlehem Walk to Emmaus #32 (Ladies Walk)

From the Courthouse to your House (Feb 2016)

“The Matthew Five Approach”

By David Money

     Every four years with the inauguration of a new President, January becomes the month of hope…new ideas…new birth…a new approach.  But today’s truth is of far greater value than tomorrow’s promise.  Many examples of ‘truth’ are found right here Henry County…programs that represent truth…love…hope…a new chance…a fresh start.  One such program can be found at the Abbeville United Methodist Church. 

     A few years ago, a small circle of caring people saw a tremendous need…and, under the guidance of the Enterprise United Methodist Church, brought ‘Celebrate Recovery’ to our county.  Those few disciples prayed for just 12 people to come forward. Twelve people who had a need – or twelve people who were willing to help meet that need – or any combination thereof.  From that dozen or so evolved 20…then 30, 40 and now over 50 each week.  The situations are varied but yet so very similar…many battle addictions, grief, loss, depression, anxiety, shame, anger, guilt, resentment, divorce and on and on.  At CR they are fed…first from the kitchen, then by each other through times of sharing and, ultimately, they are fed everlastingly from The Word.  Last Thursday night 52 came at 6:00 PM for supper.  Later, they sang…they listened…they shared…they cried. Then they helped clean up.  At 8:58, they left with a sense of healing…of being loved…knowing that there are many who care.

     Celebrate Recovery extends beyond the Thursday night walls of AUMC.  ‘CR Inside’ provides a ministry inside the Henry County Jail.  Celebrate Recovery is a friend of a court system that recognizes CR as a path for sobriety, personal growth and a community of support for those who follow the steps.  Volunteers come at 3:00 to prepare the meal…they stay until 9:00 to clean up – they are there to welcome them in, visit with and encourage them, provide the music, lead the studies and the small groups…they are there to listen to them and pray for/with them.  Their approach is time tested, proven …and from the heart.  They are there for the ‘poor in spirit, for those who mourn, for the persecuted, for the meek, for those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.’  Those who volunteer do what they do through a spirit of silent servant-hood.  May they also be blessed…and known as the ‘children of God.’ We thank them…each of them…for their ‘Mathew Five Ministry.’  All are welcome to come and join in. 

30 Date Update:

  • January probate activity: four wills probated, one involuntary commitment, two guardianships, one administration, one name change, one final settlement,  three miscellaneous hearings, twelve marriage licenses issued.
  • Citizens with last names beginning with ‘A’ or ‘D’ have five days to renew their tags. If your last name begins with ‘B’ February will be your renewal month.
  • January 8 & 9 – I attended the Alabama Probate Judges Association Winter Conference at Point Clear.
  • January 9 – many county and local officials attended the Red Star Yeast expansion celebration and ribbon cutting at their plant near Newville.
  • January 24 – several county commissioners, staff members and I attended the Association of County Commissioners of Alabama district meeting at Luverne United Methodist Church.
  • January 25 – the Henry County Youth Leadership Program enjoyed its annual ‘Health Day’ with visits to the new Health Center at Wallace College This was followed by tours at Flowers Hospital and ACOM.  While in Dothan, I attended the Executive Committee & Board meetings at SARCOA.

 

Dates to Remember:

  • January 27 – Wiregrass Forum breakfast in Ozark at 7:30 AM.
  • February 1 – Henry County schools ‘Career Tech Day’ Proclamation signing – 3:30 PM -Probate Court Room.
  • February 2 – tentative date to hold a tri-county public meeting to discuss funding solutions to repair/resurface substandard roads in Henry, Houston and Dale Counties. It is planned for 6:00 at a location yet to be determined.
  • February 8 – our HCYLP students will join Youth Leadership students from other counties for the Youth Leadership luncheon at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Dothan.  
  • February 20 – George Washington/Thomas Jefferson birthday holiday.

   

From the Courthouse to your House (Dec 2016)

“The Seasons of Christmas – The Work of Christmas”

by David Money

     Like many of you, Christmas has forever been my favorite time of the year.  This one, like all the ones before it, will be special.  They have not always been prosperous by the world’s standards but God’s grace has always made them magical for me.  Looking back at the many seasons of Christmas in my life, I think of these:  (1956) At age eight, my last Alabama Christmas with my parents before we moved to Florida…two years later my parents would divorce and Daddy would bring my sister and me back to Abbeville.  That was a quiet simple Christmas – just apples, oranges, a few nuts and a flannel shirt  under the tree.  But Santa came…and I was happy.  (1966) I hadn’t planned to go to college until Uncle Lindy paid my tuition and Coach Johnny Oppert recruited me to play on the first ever Wallace College baseball team.  I was at this point living with my grandparents…I remember a Christmas filled with love.  (1976) Karen and I had been married for four years – we had a one year old daughter.  That year we saw Christmas through the eyes of our child.  Karen was the foundation of our spiritual life.   (1986) Life had changed drastically…we now had four children under twelve, I was serving Abbeville as its mayor while trying to keep a struggling Ford dealership afloat.  But by that Christmas, I had finally assumed my role as the spiritual leader of our home.  (1996) We had one at Auburn, two in high school and one in elementary school.  I was working 60 hour weeks as our business began to bounce back.  That was an exciting Christmas.  (2006) We had followed Kristen, Steve and our only grandchild to Headland.  Dave and Scott had their degrees, were still single and were beginning to establish their own careers.  Erin was transferring from Troy to Alabama.  They were scattered but still coming home for Christmas.  (2016)  We now enjoy the blessing of four children who have each married wonderful people and given us eight healthy grandchildren.  They all have families of their own and come home for Christmas in shifts…but at least they come.  And God has blessed me with the best job a man could ever have – serving the county I love (almost as much as I love Christmas.)                   But bright and beautiful December’s are often followed by bland and barren January’s.  I’m struck each year by the empty feeling of knowing that we must wait almost a full year for Christmas to come again.  So what do we do…how do we feel the void?  It is then that ‘The Work of Christmas’ begins.

“Long after the Angels are silent…well after the Shepherds are gone. The Kings have returned to their Kingdoms…and we’re left to ponder alone. Why did Christmas desert us…why do we even exist?  What is our role in The Kingdom?  Maybe our calling is this:

  • To find the lost,
  • To heal the broken,
  • To feed the hungry,
  • To teach the nations,
  • To find and share peace,
  • To bring Christ to all.”

     In this ‘Season of Christmas’ let us be about the ‘Work of Christmas.’  May the Joy and Peace of Christmas be with you throughout the New Year.  Merry Christmas.

 

30 Day Update:

  • December probate activity: two wills probated, five involuntary commitments, one guardianship/conservatorship, one administration and eight marriages issued.
  • If your last name ends with ‘A’ or ‘D’ January will be your month to renew your tags. Bring your driver’s license, current registration and proof of insurance.
  • 18 – we took our grandchildren to the Wallace College production of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.’ Broadway quality for much less than the cost of a movie.
  • 30 – a special ‘thank you’ to everyone involved in the Abbeville Christmas program on west lawn of the court house. It was very meaningful and well attended.
  • 3 – attended the SEARP&DC board meeting in Dothan.
  • 7/8 – attended the Association of County Commissions of Alabama’s two day legislative session in Montgomery. This is an effective, extremely well-run organization. 
  • 3 – Newville Christmas parade – we were out of town and were unable to attend.
  • 8 – was honored to emcee the Abbeville Christmas parade.
  • 10 – enjoyed riding in the Headland Christmas parade
  • 13 – Henry County Commission meetings (Happy 197th Birthday, Henry County)
  • 14 – Happy 197th Birthday, State of Alabama
  • 14 – Henry County Youth Leadership Program’s ‘Law and Government Day.’ We had a great day teaching students about law enforcement, the court system and government in general.  Special thanks to Judge Derek Peterson, Sheriff Will Maddox, Sheriff’s Reserve Deputy Larry Hudson, Chief Jailer Lee Padget, Deputy Troy Silva and Jason Owen of the Wallace College Criminal Justice ‘Active Shooter’ simulator…we had a great day. 

 

Dates to Remember:

  • 23 – the court house will close for Christmas at 1:00 PM on Friday, December 23rd and will re-open at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, December 27th.
  • 25 – Merry Christmas
  • 1 – Happy New Year
  • 2 – the Henry County Court House will be closed today for the New Year holiday.
  • 3 – January Administrative meeting – 9:00 AM – Probate Court Room
  • 3 – January Commission meeting – 10:30 AM – Probate Court Room
  • 8/9 – Alabama Probate Judges Association Winter conference at Point Clear
  • 10 – Lasaffre Red Star Yeast Ribbon Cutting/Expansion Celebration – Headland plant
  • 12 – Chris Padget to be sworn in as Henry County School Superintendent – 5:00 PM
  • 16 – Martin Luther King holiday
  • 20 – Presidential Inauguration Day
  • 23 – Henry County Commission work session – 9:00 AM
  • 24 – ACCA District Commission meeting – Luverne United Methodist Church
  • 25 – HCYLP ‘Healthcare Day’

   

From the Courthouse to your House (Nov2016)

“A Long Day…but Heroes Abound”

by David Money

November 8, 2016Election Day.  The actual planning for this day started months ago with an election staff consisting of, among others, Chief Clerk Claudette Hawthorne, Jon Taylor, Angela Craddock, Chris Trammell, Shae Williams, Jerry Green, James Lynn, Joe Vickers (and his Road & Bridge site prep team), Jerry Whitehead, the registrar’s office, the Henry County Election Canvassing Board (circuit clerk, sheriff and probate judge) and the training of almost 80 poll workers.  It represented the epitome of team work…and our heartfelt thanks to these mentioned and to countless others who helped make our local election run so smoothly despite an air of uneasiness and tension creating by all the negativity from those involved on the national scene.  There were also some special heroes who worked a very long day on the 8thSeveral probate office staff members who, under Claudette’s leadership, stayed until after 10:00 PM, the Sheriff’s office personnel – deputies who were on constant patrol during the day and night as well as S. O. staff members who stayed until all precincts had reported.  Our thanks to the poll workers who reported to service as early as 6:00 AM and stayed at their post for 13 to 14 hours…and, in the case of Headland, poll workers who worked until after 9:00 PM.  And to the voters all over the countyall 8,143 of you who turned out to vote, I thank you for your perseverance, your patience and your commitment to being an integral part of the democratic process.  There were lines at some point in the day at almost every location – and pretty much all day in Headland.  I stopped by there on three different occasions…each time to see lines of 100 to 200 voters outside patiently waiting – some for 90 minutes or more.  A 65% voter turnout is remarkable. I heard many long time citizens remark that this was the largest Henry County election they could remember.   Again, it takes team work to make things work smoothly and that was very evident last Tuesday.  In closing, I thank the voters of Henry County for supporting several state amendments that are important to the future of our county… and for your support of local Henry County Amendment # 1 by an almost two to one margin.  I’m humbled by your vote of confidence and promise to continue to work as hard as possible to enhance the quality of life in Henry County. 

30 Day Update:October probate activity:  two wills probated, five involuntary commitments, one temporary guardianship, two administrations, one guardianship/conservatorship, one name change, two final settlements, three miscellaneous hearings and ten marriage licenses issued.

  • Citizens with commercial tags needing to be renewed have eight days remaining in which to renew their tags without penalty.  Only ‘new purchase’ tags are issued in December.
  • October 31/November 2 – County Commissioner Greg Reynolds and I had two fruitful days at the Montgomery board member training of SEARP&DC.  Henry County native Tom Solomon does a tremendous job in his role as Executive Director of this organization.  SEARP&DC is one of the cornerstones of economic development in the southeast Alabama region.
  • November 2 – special thanks to Superintendent Lesa Knowles and Principal Jason Bradford for providing the HHS auditorium for the two hour poll workers training session.  Approximately 75 poll workers attended.
  • November 3 – Jon Taylor, Claudette Hawthorne and Chris Trammel trained about a dozen election officials on the new iPads that were used at five different polling places for the general election.  Secretary of State John Merrill asked me to permit Henry County to be a pilot county for this new system.  It ran very smoothly and came at no cost to our county.
  • November 8 – 8,143 Henry County citizens went to the polls to participate in the general election (read more about this at the beginning of this column.)
  • November 9 – Veteran’s Day.  Prayers were offered during ceremonies of remembrance today throughout Henry County, our state and our nation.  Let us never forget!
  • November 15 – Judge Derek Peterson, Sheriff Maddox and I hosted about a dozen outstanding students from Mr. King’s Headland High School ‘Law and Society’ class.  This was coordinated by their career coach Amanda Hardy.
  • November 15 – the annual ‘Farm City Banquet’ was held at Headland First Baptist Church.  Jimmy Jones and his staff work extremely hard throughout the year – hundreds of citizens look forward to this annual event as it marks the beginning of the Thanksgiving season.
  • November 16 – Alabama law mandates that our monthly commission meetings be held on this date this year due to the general election being held on our normal meeting day.  Benton Beasley (District 1) and Greg Reynolds (District 5) were sworn in to begin their new terms.
  • November 16 – the Henry County Youth Leadership team members participated in our annual ‘Spirit of Volunteerism Day’ by visiting Vivian B. Adams School, the Henry County Commission meeting, the Wiregrass Rehab facility and the Wiregrass Area United Way Food Bank.

Dates to Remember:

  • November 18 – Wiregrass United Way Pork Loin sale – HNB-First on the square in Headland. Pork loins can be picked up from 11:00 AM until 6:00 PM.
  • November 26 – the ‘Iron Bowl’ will be held in Tuscaloosa.  Nothing compares to the excitement that builds before this game – especially with both teams having winning seasons.
  • November 29 – Headland ‘Holiday Open House/Christmas Tree Lighting’ – Downtown Headland – 6:00 PM.
  • November 30 – Abbeville Christmas Tree Lighting and Christmas Program – 5:00 PM – Court House Square (rumor has it that Santa may possibly be hanging out at the Chamber office.
  • December 5 – Abbeville Christmas Parade – 5:00 PM
  • December 7-8 – ACCA Legislative Conference and ACCA board meeting – Montgomery
  • December 10 – Headland Christmas parade – 10:00 AM
  • December 13 – Happy Birthday, Henry County – you are 197 years old today.
  • December 13 – December Administrative meeting – 9:00 AM – Probate Court Room
  • December 13 – December Commission meeting – 10:30 AM – Probate Court Room