Heroes Among Us

Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2020, 12:00 am

Wiregrass Electric and WTVY honor community contributors with banquet

Brad Kimbro, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative’s chief operating officer, addresses the crowd attending the Silent Heroes of the Wiregrass 2019 banquet in Dothan in January.

Some support the elderly, and some aid children and their families. Some honor veterans, and some assist the ill and hurting. All are Silent Heroes of the Wiregrass.

Wiregrass Electric Cooperative (WEC) and WTVY News 4 united all of the 2019 Silent Heroes of the Wiregrass honorees at a January banquet — providing a voice to the selfless acts they all do quietly. The Silent Heroes program, now in its third year, provides $1,000 to the winners thanks to WEC’s Operation Round Up Charitable Foundation.

“Every time I get to speak about this program, I get excited. It just works,” says David Hall, the foundation’s president. “Silent Heroes, you’re what makes this place a wonderful place to live and worship.”

“They’re doing things, and they’re not trying to get credit for them,” says Brad Kimbro, WEC’s chief operating officer. “They’re doing it silently to do nothing else but to help people. By helping people, our Wiregrass communities are so much better.”

Wiregrass Electric and WTVY News 4, which partners with the cooperative to present the Silent Heroes awards, honored the following people for their contributions:

  • Brandee Lukas, Lifted Higher Ministries — She formed Lifted Higher Ministries with her husband, Adam, to help parents develop the life skills needed to obtain custody of their children from the foster care system. The nonprofit also assists the elderly.
  • Abbie Sheppard — The Wiregrass woman crochets hats for chemotherapy patients to wear, and she also provides goodie bags.
  • Silent Heroes banquet attendees enjoy food from award-winning chef Kelsey Barnard Clark of KBC in Dothan.

    Sherrie White — She assists several people with their rent, utility payments, and transportation needs. Some clients have enough money to buy their groceries and medication but lack the transportation to do so.

  • Matt Larson, Annie’s Cafe of Enterprise — On multiple occasions, Larson and his staff have served food to victims of disasters, both locally and in other areas of Alabama. Additionally, the restaurant organizes annual back-to-school supply drives.
  • Celeste Kelly, Catholic Social Services in Dothan — The organization provides assistance with food, clothing, utilities, medicines, and rent in an eight-county
  • Echo United Methodist Church — The congregation in this small Dale County community owns a 10-acre tract of land, which it uses to grow food for those who are less fortunate. The church has served about 100 needy families.
  • Tina Johnson — The Enterprise police officer assists children in impoverished neighborhoods with their schoolwork and supports them in other ways. She also serves as the school resource officer for Enterprise High School.
  • Silent Heroes winner Martha Ann Meadows, right, attended the Silent Heroes banquet.

    Mike Thames — The Geneva resident has fed and created shelters for a burgeoning feral cat population. That has led to the adoption of several of the cats.

  • Pilot Club of Dothan — While it assists on several projects, an emphasis is on a fundraising initiative that helps purchase trackers for Alzheimer’s disease patients. These trackers help law enforcement officials locate missing patients.
  • Homer Spooner — The Cottonwood-area resident and his wife, Sheila, build wooden crosses to memorialize deceased local veterans. Then, they display the crosses between Memorial Day and Independence Day and around Veterans Day along Alabama Highway 53.
  • Suzie Peters — The Dothan police officer volunteers some of her off-duty hours to teach self-defense classes to females 12 and older.
  • Martha Ann Meadows — The Hartford-area woman volunteers at a service organization, and she bakes cakes for several fundraisers that benefit an array of area needs.
  • Ron Bedford — He not only once walked from Mobile to Washington, D.C., to raise money for a World War II memorial, but he also has conducted several fundraisers for cancer research. Bedford was a 2018 winner of the Silent Heroes award, but he was honored in January due to the timing of the 2018 banquet.

Funding for Operation Round Up stems from the contributions WEC members make each month when they opt to round their power bills to the next dollar.

The roundups generate about $120,000 annually, which the foundation reinvests into the community through scholarships and programs like Silent Heroes.

Silent Heroes award recipients from 2019 gather for a picture with WEC and WTVY News 4 officials.