Buddy Burton has lived in the Forest Lake area of Tuscaloosa for 42 years. His home there survived the April 2011 tornado, a storm that destroyed most of his neighborhood. He has long been involved in the Neighborhood Association, more recently in the efforts to revitalize the community.
Buddy attended the University of Alabama earning a degree in Accounting. He worked for JamisonMoneyFarmer, PC for 45 years. He retired in August of 2006 but continues to maintain his certifications in order to serve various roles in the nonprofit arena.
Buddy has always been involved in church and community projects. He has held leadership positions at Forest Lake United Methodist Church and other organizations such as United Way (board member), Salvation Army (former chairman), PARA (board member), Tuscaloosa Industrial Development Authority (board member) and more.
Buddy was an icon in the girl's church league softball circle and was inducted into the West Alabama Softball Hall of Fame in 2005.
He was the driving force behind The Community Foundation of West Alabama, established in 1999. He served as the chairman until 2009 and remains of on the board of directors. He continues to be passionate about growing funds to meet the needs of our charitable groups now and into the future. The CFWA has given back in excess of $12 million already and there are very few charities in town that CFWA doesn't fund or impact.
In recent years, the CFWA has named over 100 Pillars of West Alabama, recognizing deserving individuals for making our area a better place to live. Because of his position on the board, Buddy isn't eligible for that award. However, he definitely should be honored for his contributions and deserves to be a member of our Civic Hall of Fame.
Transplanted in Tuscaloosa 25 years ago, Charlie Durham embraced his calling to First Presbyterian Church. From there, he has stretched the boundaries with vision, inspired the faithful within the block and beyond, and modeled servant leadership with determination and hope.
For Christ from the Heart of Tuscaloosa" is the mission for the church and for Charlie. Serving a community requires knowing its people and he, by extroverted nature, has become a friend to Tuscaloosa. Many consider him to be the community pastor, calling on him for help and comfort in a variety of situations.
Sensing a desperate need for those with dementia issues, Charlie went out on a limb to form the seminal board of Caring Days, sharing the vision, challenging the doubters, implementing its creation and nurturing its growth. This joyful home-away-from-home, filled with imagination, good humor and art, has been successful for over a decade.
Knowing first-hand the struggles of anxiety, grief and pain of our citizens, Charlie joined the pastors of First United Methodist Church and Christ Episcopal to found Counseling Ministry Professionals, a counseling service with a heart for the power of faith in addressing mental health issues. It continues to serve as a light in dark times for many.
Charlie has humbly served on the boards of many service organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Community Soup Bowl and Hospice of West Alabama. The DCH Institutional Review Board and Stillman College Board of Trustees have also benefited from his pastoral perspective. He was named a Paul Harris Fellow and acted as the president of the Tuscaloosa Rotary Club.
Always ready to be a hands-on helper, delivering Meals on Wheels and hammering nails at Habitat for Humanity sites have been meaningful ways to put faith in action.
The 2011 tornado was a debilitating tragedy for our town. Within 30 minutes, Charlie
was in a devastated neighborhood, armed with a chainsaw and tireless determination, helping to evacuate victims from their homes. In a long-term effort, his church hosted more than 300 workers who came to Tuscaloosa over the next three years.
Charlie is happiest serving with a team, identifying a need, nurturing the talents of others and going out on a limb.
Few people in the community have had the lasting impact that Carolyn Fritz had in so many areas.
She especially loved helping children and served on the Parent Teacher Association for many Tuscaloosa City Schools including Verner Elementary (president), Westlawn Middle, Tuscaloosa Middle, Eastwood Middle and Central High East and West.
She was a leader in many worthwhile community organizations serving as president of the Junior League of Tuscaloosa, Chamber's Women's Division and Tuscaloosa Medical Alliance. She was on the board of directors for the Juvenile Court, Boys & Girls Clubs of West Alabama, Rise, Adopt-A-School, Kentuck and CHOM. She was also involved with Leadership Tuscaloosa, Forerunners, PRIDE, Tuscaloosa Soup Kitchen and more.
She was named a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts, Grand Marshal of the West Alabama Christmas parade and Sustainer of the Year in Junior League Tuscaloosa.
Carolyn was a dedicated, tireless volunteer who impacted many lives by her involvement. She literally gave thousands of hours of service to make this community a better place.
In 1944, Lee Allen Hallman answered a call to serve his country. Little did he know his military career would extend more than 33 years before he would permanently return to Tuscaloosa. He returned as a Navy Commander and immediately began looking for avenues of community service.
He has provided a lasting impact on the development of Tuscaloosa County by investing his time with the youth, veterans and senior adults. Lee Allen is a long-time member of the Chamber and served as director on the Industrial Development Authority board during a time of great importance, when the Tuscaloosa Industrial Park was developed. He also served on the Tuscaloosa Planning and Zoning Commission.
In 1982, he was appointed License Commissioner, a role he held until 2005 when he was appointed Supernumerary License Commissioner by the Governor of Alabama. He took this from a small office in the Courthouse basement with lines of taxpayers around the block to an efficient office in the annex and two satellite offices.
Lee Allen is an avid supporter of the University of Alabama and its Sports Programs. He established the Commander and Mrs. Lee A. Hallman Endowed Scholarship at the school and is a contributor to the Crimson Tide Foundation.
He has served in numerous civic organizations. In 1984, he revived the American Legion baseball program, which provided over 100 college scholarships to local youth. He also served as Commander of The American Legion Post 34 and vice president and president of the West Alabama Officers Association.
Lee Allen is a past president of Focus on Senior Citizens and still serves on that board. He also currently serves on the Tuscaloosa County Veterans Memorial Park committee.
He was selected American Legion Veteran of the Year for Alabama in 2002 and was awarded the American Spirit Award by the University of Alabama that same year.
Lee Allen earned a master's degree from the University of Alabama at the age of 82. At the age of 88, he is still serving and displaying the attitude and spirit that others would do well to emulate.
Dr. John Woodruff Robinson was a long-time Tuscaloosa physician and civic worker. Most notably, he served as a physician at Stillman College for more than 36 years for nominal rates and sometimes at no cost at all. He was a leading booster and benefactor of Stillman and received an honorary doctorate from the school.
Dr. Robinson was born in Barbados, West Indies before moving to New York with parents in search of a better education. He was one of the first blacks to graduate from Towns and Harris High School and the city college of New York. He graduated from Howard University Medical School in Washington, D.C. He served as a physician in World War II, stationed in this country and in Europe.
After coming to Tuscaloosa in 1949, he served as chairman of the original board of directors for the Benjamin Barnes branch of the YMCA and was president of the Century Club. He served on the board of the United Way, Black Warrior Council of the Boy Scouts of American and American Red Cross.
Dr. Robinson was also an involved leader of Hunters Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church for many years and later joined Canterbury Episcopal Chapel.
He is remembered for his citizenship and concern for his fellow man, especially in regard to youth and education.
Randy C. Skagen is a mechanical engineer by trade, earning his degree in 1980 from Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology in his hometown in Canada. Upon graduation, he launched what would become a very accomplished career in the steel industry.
In 2004, he was selected as the general manager of Nucor Steel Tuscaloosa, Inc. and was elected vice president in 2005. Upon his arrival in Tuscaloosa ten years ago, Randy immediately immersed himself in a wide variety of civic and charitable activities. He quickly advanced to leadership positions and gained a reputation as a "go to" person...if a non-profit is going through a difficult time and needs a strong leader, go to Randy; if a worthwhile fundraiser needs a chairman to accept the challenge and reach the goal, go to Randy; if a board or group needs wise counsel, go to Randy. He has always accepted these assignments with enthusiasm and a smile. He has successfully guided the operations of Nucor while oftentimes serving in multiple leadership roles in the community.
Randy has frequently rallied his troops at Nucor to help with community projects, including the construction of a playground at United Cerebral Palsy and outreach to families in need in the aftermath of the April 2011 tornadoes.
Randy has served as chairman of the United Way, the Chamber, and the Black Warrior Council of Boy Scouts. He currently serves on the board of directors of the DCH Foundation, the Chamber and Black Warrior Council of Boy Scouts. He also serves on the Leadership Advisory Board for the Dean of the College of Engineering and the Advisory Board for the Metallurgical Engineering Department at the University of Alabama. He has also been involved with Easter Seals, the Caring Days capital campaign and Tuscaloosa County Industrial Authority.
He has stepped forward many times when his community was in need of his leadership and service.
Throughout his career in the banking industry and since his retirement, Chuck Sittason has been a leader.
In 1980, he was appointed by the City of Tuscaloosa to serve on the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development board, where he served until 2001. He was chairman for two years and vice chairman for two years. He was the TCIDA negotiator when JCV chose to locate in Tuscaloosa and made numerous trips to Japan in pursuit of the manufacturer. He also worked with the IDA's Foundation, serving several terms as president when the Tuscaloosa County Airport Industrial Park was created.
Chuck served as campaign chairman and then president of the United Way in the 1980s and several board terms for the Chamber as a division vice president for three terms. He also served on the board of the DCH Foundation from 1988 to 1996.
His commitment to the University of Alabama has been significant. He has been a member of the President's Cabinet since 1988 and served as co-chair of the Crimson promenade campaign from 1998-2000. He was also a role model and advisor for the Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity from 1986-2008.
He served on the Alabama Commission for Higher Education from 1986-1993 as vice chair and chair of the Financial Affairs committee. During his tenure, legislation to improve the quality and management of higher education was passed and a technology scholarship for K-12 teachers was created. In 2003, he reactivated and served as president for Junior Achievement, which had been dormant for many years.
After retirement from Regions Bank in in 2005, at the request of the Chamber, he initiated the development of the Tuscaloosa Sports Foundation and served as the founding president from 2005-2010. This brought numerous sports events to Tuscaloosa, including the Super Six High School Football Championship. In 2010, the TSF merged with the Tuscaloosa Convention and Visitors Bureau to form the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission, on whose board he still serves as chairman.
Chuck also played a key role in the capital campaign to build the inpatient facility for Hospice of West Alabama, served as founding president of the Red Elephant Club from 2007-2009 and has served on the Progress Committee of Tuscaloosa since 1986.
He has demonstrated his ability to propel programs resulting in economic prosperity, strong education and youth programs and a robust health care system-facets he believes are cornerstones for quality of life in the community.