For Karen Brooks, continuing a legacy of giving back to the community her family loves has become a goal in life.
After attending the Tuscaloosa County School System and graduating from the University of Alabama, Brooks embarked upon a professional career with Phifer, Inc., where she now serves as Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors, Vice President and Treasurer. As she fulfills these demanding duties within her family's company, Brooks also serves as the Adopt-A-School Director for their partnership with Westlawn Middle School and is a board member of the Reese Phifer, Jr. Memorial Foundation alongside her sisters Beverly Phifer Wingard and Susan Phifer Cork.
Even as Brooks has served a key role in the leadership team at Phifer, Inc., she has achieved a long record of community service, including serving over the years on the Board of Directors of the Good Samaritan Clinic, the United Way of West Alabama, R.I.S.E., the Mothers March of Dimes-United Way of West Alabama, the First National Bank of Tuskaloosa, the Mental Health Association, the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, and many others.
Brooks currently serves on the Crimson Tide Foundation and 1831 Board of Directors, the University of Alabama President's Cabinet, the Bryant Bank Board of Directors, and is a member of the United Way of West Alabama Alexis de Tocqueville Society and the University of Alabama Crimson Racket Club.
In Brooks' most recent leadership role as the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees' President Pro Tempore, she has faced many challenging issues. In times of transition at various levels in the three universities that make up the University of Alabama System, Karen has faced those challenges with courage and humility, and all in the public eye.
Hezekiah Carstarphen, Jr. has devoted his life to serving others, courageously using lessons learned from his own trials and tribulations to serve the community and his country.
Born to a Gordo minister and his wife, Carstarphen gave his life to Christ at the early age of 5, which was the start of his life's devotion of helping others. He attended Gordo Colored Elementary School in Gordo, and Matthews Elementary and Riverside High School in Northport. During his student years, Carstarphen was an honor student and played an active role in student organizations, including becoming the first Junior to serve as Student Government President. He also served as captain of the basketball team, president of the 4H Club and Class President from 9th through 11 grades. In May of 1966, Carstarphen was one of the first black students to integrate Tuscaloosa County High School. Following his graduation in May of 1967, Carstarphen enrolled at Stillman College, Tuscaloosa's only Historically Black College, where he served as SGA President and Yearbook Editor. After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree from Stillman, he furthered his educational studies at Atlanta University, the University of Alabama and Livingston University.
A strong believer in freedom and equality, Carstarphen was moved to serve his country, and volunteered for military service with the United States Army. He volunteered for duties in Vietnam and served there from 1970 to 1971, where he was wounded. He was honorably discharged in 1972.
A natural leader, Carstarphen has demonstrated a willingness to give his all on any project he undertakes. As a member of the Benjamin Barnes Branch YMCA, he learned of the need for assistance in funding baseball uniforms for the Little League Baseball Program and initiated a fund that raised money to purchase uniforms for the entire league. His service to the community includes serving as Chairman of the Park and Recreation Authority Board, is a member of Tuscaloosa Optimist International, Inc., is a founder of the Tuscaloosa Golf Association, is a founder of the Y-Men Civic Hall of Fame and is a member of the Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church, where he is the Former Director of Crusaders, BTU Teacher, Church Boy Scout Leader and started the Church Little League Program. Carstarphen has served many other community programs, as well.
Carstarphen has led a distinguished career at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, where he retired in 2009 as the Equal Employment Manager.
Northport is a better place to live, thanks to the kind generosity of Eugenia Patton "Pat" Faucett. Determined to continue her family's tradition of civic work, Faucett selflessly gave of her time and resources throughout her life to help her community be a better place for all.
A lifelong resident of Northport, Faucett attended Northport Elementary School and graduated for Tuscaloosa County High School and the University of Alabama. A longtime employee of the University, Faucett worked in the Office of Academic Affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences while remaining involved in the community.
An active member of First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa, Faucett volunteered at the Community Soup Bowl and delivered Meals on Wheels. She also volunteered at the Tuscaloosa Public Library at their used bookstore. Through the Community Foundation of West Alabama, Faucett has made a tremendous impact on the community, even after her death. Nine four-year scholarships have been funded at the University of Alabama, and a number of organizations have benefited from her generosity, including the DCH Cancer Treatment Center Foundation, Shelton State Community College, the Joyce Sellers Foundation, the Kentuck Association, the Shirley Place Foundation, Hospice of West Alabama, Eagles Wings, Turning Point, West Alabama Food Bank, Salvation Army, Caring Days, T-Town Paws, and many more.
Faucett is perhaps best known for a generous gift of land. In 2005, she donated 80 acres to PARA for the development of the Faucett Brothers Park and Activity Center in the western part of Tuscaloosa County. She loved to see families, especially children, playing and enjoying recreational activities. Faucett would be thrilled to see the land she once played on as a child now as PARA's most used center.
A gifted leader and consensus builder, Hilliard Nicol Fletcher, possessed the leadership qualities we all look for in a public official. He set a standard of selfless devotion for the City of Tuscaloosa and its citizens we can all look to for inspiration.
A University of Alabama graduate, Fletcher served in the U.S. Marine Corps and in the Marine reserves. In business, he was president of Duckworth-Morris Insurance Co., and served his community in a range of philanthropic roles. Fletcher was on the Board of Directors of First Alabama Bank; now Regions Bank; as past President and Chairman of the United Way of West Alabama, past President and Director of the Exchange Club of Tuscaloosa, and a past board member of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. He also served on the Board of Directors and as Membership Chairman of the YMCA of Tuscaloosa, Vice President of the Tuscaloosa Sesquicentennial Celebration, member of the West Alabama Planning and Development Council and the West Alabama Comprehensive Health Planning Council, and many more.
Fletcher is perhaps best known for his role in public office. He served four terms on the Tuscaloosa City Commission as the elected water and finance commissioner. When a discrimination lawsuit threatened the structure of the city's government, Fletcher's helped to form the mayor-council form of municipal government in use today.
Fletcher also took part in the fight against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's plan to install a hydroelectric power plant at Lake Tuscaloosa in 1970. Along with other city officials, Fletcher fought the move, resulting in the Lake Tuscaloosa Protection Act, preventing the installation of the power equipment that would have destroyed the dam and spillway.
In 1998, the City of Tuscaloosa honored him by placing his name on the city's wastewater treatment plant, and in 2010, the Community Foundation of West Alabama named Fletcher of Pillar of West Alabama.
Work hard, be involved and give back. Those words are the legacy of Timothy Mize Parker, Sr.; words he wanted to share not just with family, friends and associates, but also with the community. As someone who started with nothing and built his business into one of the area's largest marine transportation companies, Parker knew the value of taking the time to be involved, and he always made time for others.
Born on a farm in Elrod as the second of seven children, Parker went to school in Buhl. After graduating from high school in 1923, he worked to earn money for college and enrolled in the College of Commerce and Business Administration at the University of Alabama, which he attended for two years before he quit to work full time.
In 1933, Parker got a job as a deckhand for Valley Barge Line, making a dollar a day. He worked hard, and by 1936 had obtained his pilot's license. By 1940, he had saved enough money to buy his first boat, the Heloise, with the help of a friend. He got his first contract to haul coal and Parker Towing was born.
As his business and family grew, Parker became an active member of the community and became involved in many civic organizations. He was past president and chairman of the Central Brand Board of Trustees of the YMCA, served as chairman of the United Way, Board of Directors of Focus on Senior Citizens, and President of the Tuscaloosa High School PTA. A longtime member of the Kiwanis Club, Parker attended meetings until his death at age 87. He was a supporter of the local Boy Scouts of America and Camp Horne. He also was a Mason, president of the Tuscaloosa Shrine Club and involved in many other civic organizations. Parker was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Tuscaloosa, and was involved in a number of committees, including the Board of Trustees and the Administrative Board.
Always interested in politics, Parker served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1970 to 1974, where he served on the Transportation Committee. He was a founding member of the Warrior-Tombigbee Development Association and was active in the American Waterways Operators; organizations that led to improvements on our river system.
In 1991 Parker and his wife Thelma established a charitable trust fund that would benefit both the University of Alabama and First United Methodist Church. The trust fund endows scholarships for future Master of Business Administration students.
Promoting a healthy business environment and ensuring access to high quality education have been passions for Fitzgerald Washington. Over two decades of committed community service, Washington has dedicated himself to the betterment of others.
The Tuscaloosa native has dedicated himself to our community's educational institutions, which impacts our young people, as well as our adult population seeking to improve their life through education. Washington has worked to ensure access to a quality education for all by having served on the Shelton State Community College Board of Directors, Chairman of the Stillman College United Negro College Fund and the University of Alabama College of Continuing Studies-Board of Visitors. Washington's work with the Boy Scouts Black Warrior Council demonstrates his interested in the positive development of our youth, as well.
While working as General Sales Manager for the Buffalo Rock Company for 15 years, Washington became heavily active in the business community. He served as the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, where he was involved in the creation of the Minority Business Council, a diverse division of the Chamber that provides minority owned enterprises resources they need to help them prosper. Washington is also active in the Druid City Business League and is a member of the BB&T Bank Advisory Board.
In 2014, Governor Robert Bentley appointed Washington to the Alabama Workforce Council, a statewide panel that has business and education work together to develop curriculums that teach students the skills needed to be hired into Alabama's evolving workforce.
Later that year, Governor Bentley appointed Washington as Secretary of the Department of Labor, entrusting him with the responsibility of ensuring meaningful employment opportunities for the men and women of Alabama who want and need to find a good job. Washington's obvious passion for making a significant long-lasting difference toward the betterment of the community had caught the attention of those outside of Tuscaloosa County. To this day, he continues to build upon his remarkable commitment to community growth and the betterment of its citizens in his most far-reaching role yet.