Over $50k raised for Kidz Outdoors in Saturday’s Soggy Bottom Lodge event (includes photos)

A special Kidz Outdoors event was held this year at Soggy Bottom Lodge in Linden, Ala., on May 13, and it was only made possible through the combined efforts of countless supporters, volunteers, and contributors.

Although many people came together to make Saturday great, I would like to personally thank those who went above and beyond for such an outstanding cause.

Specifically, I would like to mention all of the great volunteers: Federal Judge Scott Coogler, who prepared dinner for over 700 people; volunteers who came from the Universities of Montevallo, West Alabama, and Alabama, including the soccer coaches and fishing team from the University of West Alabama; Ready Mix USA and Cemex, who were our cooking team; James Lewis, Olen Kerby, Johnny Lewis, and Tommy Criswell, who prepared lunch. The great people from La Montanita came out to help with the food as well.

Alabama Power volunteer LaDon Glover and his family served and assisted all of the kids and their families; Coach Josh Chapman and former Alabama football players Christian Jones, Marquis Maze, Undra Billingsley, and Kerry Murphy gave their valuable time to take and sign photos for the kids.

Sheriff Brian Harris, of Sumter County, and Tommy Reese, Chief of Police for Demopolis, both came out and delighted everyone by participating in the dunk booth.

The whole day was kept organized by Alec Braswell, who acted as our volunteer Master of Ceremonies for the day.

And finally, a special thanks goes to all of our sponsors, all the way from Gadsden to Mobile, from Mississippi to Demopolis. My friends know how grateful I am that they supported such an honorable cause. Everyone at Soggy Bottom and everyone at Personal Touch, Inc. put forth a great effort, and I couldn’t be more humbled. We hosted between 700 and 800 people, and it would not have been successful without you.

Last year was our first time to host a Kidz Outdoors event, and we were able to raise $25,000. This year’s event surpassed all of our highest expectations and everyone who participated help raise $54,000. Carol and Rick Clarke, the founders of Kidz Outdoors, do such incredible work with special needs children, and it’s a privilege to help in some small way. They contribute so much of their time and effort to helping the children succeed, even inventing tools and equipment to meet each child’s specific needs.

Next year’s event is tentatively slated for Saturday, May 7, and we need your help and support to make it even better. Together, I know we can succeed.

Thank you,

JR Rivas, Owner, Soggy Bottom Lodge

Inmate back in custody after 1998 escape

Donovan Johnson. (WAW | Contributed)

After 19 years on the run, a Greene County inmate is back in custody a week after an anonymous tip was submitted to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO).

Donovan Johnson was arrested in 1996 on one count of murder, three counts of attempted murder, and one count of first-degree receiving stolen property. He escaped from the Greene County Jail in 1998, along with three other inmates, while awaiting trial for the 1996 murder of Ollie Henderson in the Mt. Hebron community.

According to Chief Deputy Jeremy Rancher with the GCSO, the office received a tip last week that pointed to Johnson living in the Chicago area.

“Based on the information from this tip, we were able to determine that there was a high probability that this tip was credible. During the course of the investigation, we learned that Johnson was using an alias of Phillip Thomas,” said Rancher.

On Friday, May 12,  at approximately 3:30 p.m., Johnson was taken into custody without incident in Chicago by the U.S. Marshals Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force.

Johnson was transported back to Greene County on May 16 by agents with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) and Chief Deputy Rancher.

“This is a prime example of what can be achieved when we all work together as a team,” said Rancher. “We would like to thank all of the local, state, and federal agencies that assisted us with this very important matter.”

Marlene McDonald Brock

Marlene McDonald Brock age 100 of Thomasville, AL died May 8, 2017 at Thomasville Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. She was born December 18, 1916 in Thomasville, AL to Ruben C. and Alice G. McDonald. She was a retired registered nurse.

She is survived by her son, Ronald C. (Joy) Tepner; daughter, Teresa Brown; four sisters, Faye (Everette) Stephens, Theda Ertsgard, Ouida McIntyre, and Anna Welsh, four grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Visitation will be held at Midway Baptist Church on Thursday, May 11, 2017 from 1:00 pm until the 2:00 pm service time with Rev. Loren Robinson officiating. Burial will be at Midway Baptist Church Cemetery in Thomasville, AL.

Arrangements by O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home in Thomasville, AL.

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.

Billie Jane Godwin Grimes

Billie Jane Godwin Grimes, 73, of Clinton, passed away on Monday May 8, 2017, at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham. Services will be held 11 a.m.Friday May 12, 2017, from First Baptist Church of Clinton with Rev. Arthur Thomas officiating and Kirk Funeral Homes Greensboro Chapel directing.Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.

Billie was born March 13, 1944, in Blue Mountain, Ms., to Clarence and Margueritte Godwin.

She was preceded by her parents; brother, Jerry Godwin; sisters, Catherine Nutt and Betty Marie Jeter; son, Ricky Dean Tate; stepdaughter, Janice Lynn Grimes and a grandson, Michael Grissom.

Survivors are her husband, Joseph Alton Grimes of Clinton; daughters, Cheryl Christian (Scott) of Greensboro, Carla Jones (Shawn) of Greensboro and Dale Grimes of Centerville; sons, Randy Grimes (Allison) of Northport and Joey Grimes (Tiffany) of Moundville; brothers, Joseph Godwin of Rock Hill,SC, Robert Godwin (Carolyn) of Oklahoma and Willy Argus Godwin (Janet) of Blue Mountain, Ms.; 12 grandchildren; 9 great grandchildren; her special friend her dog “Pepper” who never left her side.

Pallbearers will be Joseph Grimes, John Averett, Dalton Averett, Larry Dale Clark, Terry Clark, Barry Clark, Mike Nutt, David Godwin and Tim Jeter.

Honorary pallbearers are Rev. and Mrs.Marvin Johnson, Dr. Warren Holley, Dr. Sakina Kamal, Laura Etheridge, Rita Thompson and Jackie Thompson.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to First Baptist Church of Clinton.

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.

Joe Bradford Clayton

Joe Bradford Clayton age 82 of Thomasville, AL died May 6, 2017 at his home. He was born June 7, 1934 in Moundville, AL to Robert Kirk and Lucile Marie Clayton. He was a retired purchasing manager with Mac Millan Bloedel, Inc., a US Army veteran of the Korean War, and a member of Pineview Baptist Church.

He is survived by his wife, Reba Clark Clayton of Thomasville, AL; daughter, Kathy Lynn Clayton (Michael) Holler of Bon Secour, AL; son, Kenneth Wayne (Mary Carol) Clayton of Thomasville, AL; three granddaughters, Brooke Clayton Luker, Emily Katherine Clayton, and Logan Beck Clayton; five great grandchildren, Laken Grey Clayton, Kyson Knox Luker, Blaklee Elizabeth Clayton, Emery Grace Rowell, and Harbor Rye Luker

Visitation will be held at O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home on Monday, May 8, 2017 from 6 to 8 pm. Funeral services will be held at O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 10:00 am with Rev. Warren Huggins and Rev. Mitch Thrower officiating. Burial will be at Choctaw Corner Cemetery in Thomasville, AL.

Arrangements by O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home in Thomasville, AL

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.

Dennis Melvin McGee

Dennis Melvin McGee, 60, of Demopolis, Al, died May 6, 2017 at DCH.

He was born Jan. 31, 1957 in Grove Hill to the late James D. and Manie Tucker McGee. Dennis is preceded in death by his parents.

He is survived by his wife Marsha Pruett McGee; his son Christopher Brooks McGee (Amy ; and brothers James D. McGee, Jr (Millie) and David Neal McGee (Donna).

Funeral service will be held Wednesday May 10, 2017 at 11 am at the First Baptist Church in Demopolis. Rev. Thomas Clay will be officiating and Kirk Funeral Homes Demopolis Chapel will be directing. Burial will follow at Demopolis Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends at the funeral home Tuesday night from 6 till 8 p.m.

Active pallbearers will be Jody Day, Sam Crawford, Tom Jones, Kenneth Phillips, Dennis Spence, Richard Bedsole, Harvey Stinnett, and Jonathan Stinnett. Honorary pallbearers will be Matthew Dunnam, Timothy Dunnam, Andy McGee, Parker Pruett, Bud Pruett, Terry Dunnam, Douglas Null, and Keith McKinley.

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.

Robert Joseph Webb

Robert Joseph Webb, 78, of Thomaston died May 4, 2017 after a short illness. Bobby, as he was known by friends and family, was born on January 5, 1939 in Butler, Alabama. His family moved to Birmingham where he attended Woodlawn High School graduating in 1957. Upon graduation, he attended Auburn University where he ran track and was a member of the Auburn All-Time SEC Track and Field Championship Team in 1961. He held the Auburn University track record for the 440 for many years. He was also a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon social fraternity. After graduating from Auburn, Bobby worked for many years as a sales representative for 3M Company in the industrial tape and video division.

Bobby is survived by his wife, Barbara Phillips Webb; his children, Robert A. Webb (his wife Tina J. Webb), Debbie Webb Watson, and Alice P. Majors (husband, Gary Majors); and his grandchildren, Georgiana Belle Watson, Ruby Webb Watson, and Victoria Webb Majors. He is further survived by his two brothers, LeNoir and Dean, and their extended families of many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Bob, as he was affectionately called by his adoring grandchildren, loved the outdoors where he spent many hours golfing, hunting, and fishing. But most of all, he loved to spend time with his lovely wife Barbara (B.B. according to the granddaughters). He will be greatly missed and remembered always as a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather by his family and friends.

Graveside services will be held on Sunday May 7th, 2:00 p.m. at Holt Cemetery on Holt Cemetery Road in Thomaston, Alabama, 36783. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made to Holt Cemetery in care of Rhonda Harris, 18571 Alabama Hwy 25, Thomaston, AL 36783.

Arrangements by O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home in Linden, AL.

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.

Photo of the day

Demopolis Kiwanis Club members Amy White, Kris Mullins and Angie Weeks partnered with senior Demopolis High School Key Club members Mary Frances Brown and Cheyenne Martin on April 17 and read to students at the Marengo County Headstart Program. Alabama Kiwanis Clubs sponsor the Jean Dean RIF Program (Reading is Fundamental). RIF is a non-profit program which was established to put quality, age-appropriate books into the hands and homes of young children before they start kindergarten so they can be ready to succeed in school and life. (WAW | Contributed)

George Curtis Pugh

George Curtis Pugh age 91 of Thomasville, AL died April 27, 2017 at Grove Hill Memorial Hospital. He was born April 12, 1926 in Morvin, AL to Howard and Lela Pugh. He was a retired service technician with Nichols Service Station and a member of Midway Baptist Church.

He is survived by his wife, Agnes Claire “Sister” Pugh, son, George Monroe (Janice) Pugh, two granddaughters, Twilla Suzanne Jackson and Brooke Pugh Comer, and three great grandchildren.

Visitation will be held at Midway Baptist Church on Friday, April 28, 2017 from 1:00 pm until the 3:00 pm service time with Dr. James Best officiating. Burial will be at Midway Baptist Church Cemetery in Thomasville, AL.

Arrangements by O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home in Thomasville, AL.

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.

Willie Mae Harrison

Willie Mae Harrison, 90 of Grove Hill, AL., died April 27, 2017 at Fellowship Home in Valdosta, GA. She was born in the Chilton Community on September 20, 1926 to Ellis and Nellie White and raised by her grandparents, Charles and Vicy White.

Upon graduation from Clarke County High School, she worked at the Mobile shipyard as a riveter, building ships during World War II. After the war, she married her community sweetheart, Bealie Harrison upon his return from his military service. Willie Mae was always content as wife and mother, helping her family and neighbors. She loved her flowers, sharing the bounty of their vegetable garden and fishing in her catfish pond. She was a faithful helper on the farm and in Chilton Baptist Church. She cared for her grandfather in his last years as he lived with her family.

During the forty years in the ministry, she was a constant help mate, singing in the church choir and the family quartet, serving in women’s groups or ministering quietly at her kitchen table. She could fill a table with delicious food on short notice and her gift of hospitality was always felt in their home. Even in her struggle with Alzheimers, she never lost her sweet spirit.

Survivors include her daughter, Ann (Jimmy) Whatley of Valdosta, GA; son Eric (Sonya) Harrison of Mobile, AL; and daughter-in-law Cheryl H. Wright of Grove Hill, AL. Grandchildren: Rita H. Williams, Arkansas; Keith (Mike Dorris) Harrison, Birmingham, AL; Darla H. (Chris) Burbank, Vestavia, AL; Wendy W. (Francois) Fineberg, Dadeville, AL; Wesley Whatley, New York City, NY; Jennifer Harrison & Lance Harrison of Mobile, AL; and five great grandchildren; sister-in-law, Leona H. Hutto, Grove Hill, AL.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 69 years, Rev. Bealie Harrison, parents, grandparents, three children, Rita, Rebecca, and Eddie Harrison, brother Elvin White (Kitty), and beloved sisters/brothers-in-laws, aunts and uncles.

Funeral services will be held Monday, May 1, 2017, 11:00 am in the chapel of O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home, Thomasville, AL., with visitation at 10:00 am. Rev. Leon Harrison and Rev. William Gibbons will officiate. Burial will be at Smith Cemetery in the Chilton Community.

In lieu of flowers, the family request that gifts be made to Chilton Baptist Church, 6365 Chilton Road, Grove Hill, AL 36451.

The family would like to express our love and appreciation to the caregivers of Fellowship Home for the unselfish, dedicated care to both our parents.

Arrangements by O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home in Thomasville, AL.

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.