Hall of Fame Inductees

 

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2024 Inductee Class

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James Bullinger

James “Bama Hiker” Bullinger is an avid hiker and climber, Army Retired Lt. Colonel, and former Level Plains Councilman & Mayor Pro-Tem working his way through his bucket list of adventures. Among others, he has completed the Camino de Santiago twice in Spain, traveled to Ecuador and climbed the second and third highest volcanoes, and taken up high pointing (climbing the highest points in the 50 states).

James is the host of the Bama Hiker Youtube channel and says he hopes the channel chronicling his adventures will “inspire and motivate others to become more active and attempt new challenges and live a fuller life.”

Nick Ciuzio

Nick Ciuzio is an outdoor enthusiast and mountain climber. He most recently had a successful climb of Mt. Denali. He says, “Denali was a big mountain, a long preparation, and a total commitment. “

Nick adds, “The more you do for yourself and others the more you’ll want do…..just keep doing.”

WORDS HE LIVES BY:

Follow the process.

Charles Coggins, Joe Copeland, and Bob Theune

Charles Coggins, Joe Copeland, and Bob Theune completed a four week cross-country bike ride for a cause. This special group (which also included Mr. Schmitz at the time) biked cross country over 3,000 miles in Fast America South 2006. They were able to raise $100,000 for the Wiregrass Children’s Home in the process.

Dothan Special Olympics Gold Medal Volleyball Champions

In 2011, the Dothan Special Olympics volleyball team won the Olympic Gold Medal in Athens, Greece, and was undefeated throughout the competition. The team qualified for the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games when they won the Special Olympics games in Lincoln, Nebraska in July of 2010.  Each team member and coach were inducted.  Hall of Fame inductees include: Joyce Adams, Elizabeth Bronold, Charles Fournier, B.J. Gray, Andrew Neve, Michael Springfield, Jay Bighems, James Coleman, William Gill, Gregory Guilford, Robert Shaw, Robbie Wilson, Elston Jones, Angie Low, Barbie Nelson

Troy Fountain & The Wiregrass Foundation

The mission of the Wiregrass Foundation is to invest in area non-profits through funding and organizational development. The Foundation also invests in long term community projects to enhance the quality of life for the Wiregrass.  The Wiregrass Foundation became involved with the Forever Wild Trails program when they assisted with grants to connect several areas of the trails.

The Foundation aims to make Dothan “more sustainable, a better place to live, and a place our children want to come back to.”

Larry & Ronna Dykes

Larry and Ronna Dykes joined the running club in Dothan in 1979, with Ronna serving as the newsletter Editor since 1980 and Larry serving as President of the club since 1986. Larry says, “Being part of an organization like the Dothan Runners Club for over 40 years has allowed us to promote running as a life-long activity as well as working with so many area organizations to help raise and donate over $85,000 to a wide range of charitable causes.”

WORDS THEY LIVE BY:

“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”

Eddie Ray Hunt, Jr.

Eddie Ray Hunt, Jr. holds an International Powerlifting World Record and is the champion for the state of Alabama after he began powerlifting in just 2019.

Eddie Ray, or “E.R.” as he is fondly referred to, took an interest early on in working out, going to the gym, and weight lifting. He says the sport is a “stress relief” for him. He graduated from Northview High School where he played on the football team. E.R. encourages kids and others to seek adventure and stay active because “it’s a great opportunity to do something positive and create great memories.”

WORDS HE LIVES BY:

“Somebody got to do it, might as well be me.”

Melinda & Buck McClendon

Inspired by her son, Buck, Melinda McClendon championed the idea for a ball field and park created specifically for children with special needs.

After bringing the vision to Dothan Rotary, the club became immediate sponsors and advocates of the project. Today the Dothan Rotary’s Miracle Field proudly serves those in the special needs community throughout Dothan and surrounding areas.

Kim Meeker

Kim Meeker retired last year from Dothan Leisure Services after 30 years of service. Kim stays outdoors and active with a variety of activities, from playing tennis to biking to now mountain biking.

When he discovered mountain biking and started traveling across the state to bike in new areas, Kim had the idea of bringing a place to bike to the Wiregrass. After getting in touch with the Forever Wild Program, the Forever Wild Trail came to Dothan and is now one of the most utilized Forever Wild Trails in the state!

Dale Nash

Dale Nash is a 26 year veteran of the Ironman Triathlon. At 71 years old, he contributes his achievements to having three things: dedication, perseverance, and heart.

Inspired by watching his first Ironman competition on the Gulf Coast and witnessing a 70 year old man come across the finish line, Dale began competing in triathlons at 45 years old. He has gone on to compete in 45 Ironman competitions, including 32 of the 70.3 mile races and 13 of the 140.6 mile full Ironmans.

WORDS HE LIVES BY:

“Anything is possible.”

James Wells & Southeast Alabama Mountain Bikers

James Wells and members of the Southeast Alabama Mountain Bikers were instrumental in the creation of the Forever Wild Trails volunteering their time, energy, and work. They remain advocates and partners and assist with trail maintenance.

A WISE WORD FROM JAMES: “There’s no better place to enjoy the present moment than out. I have found the more you give, the more you receive. I have been told that you should do things while you can. If you wait, it will probably will not happen. “

Jordyn Allen

Jordyn is a senior at Rehobeth High School and Commanding Officer in ROTC, and excels in the sport of air rifle. She has competed across the country and received several awards at the national level, including CMP National champion and the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for leadership, military aptitude, and scholastic achievement. Jordyn also serves as Drum Major for the Rehobeth High School Marching Band and enjoys taking on leadership opportunities and working with younger students.

Cindy Thomas

Cindy has done mission work on 6 different continents. Along the way she’s climbed to the peak of 4 active volcanoes, canoed 50 miles into a Central American jungle, worked at orphanages in Uganda, and more. She’s even visited a few countries where the mission work had to be done covertly, and she still can’t speak about it publicly, to protect the lives of her hosts. From Moscow to Kota Kinabalu she’s loved every stop along the way, but most importantly she loved the people she met and the opportunities she’s had to share Christ’s Love.

Brayden Jones

When Brayden took up a father-son passtime of learning to bow hunt, he quickly realized his talent for archery. Bradyen has traveled the country competing in archery competitions and in 2023 was named the ASA Federation Youth Male Shooter of the Year. Brayden says he lives by the verse Psalms 139:14 and believes that “we are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Raley Pasibe

Raley is a senior at the University of Alabama majoring in accounting. She is a member of the USA All Girl Cheer Team and is proud to represent Dothan on the national level. She says cheer is more than a sport, it’s a lifestyle that requires hard work and discipline. Raley believes in having a heart of service and volunteers with the Juvenile Detention Center in Tuscaloosa mentoring young people and helping them establish healthy lifestyle routines.

Bill Castlen

Pilot and flight instructor, Bill Castlen, has been flying for over 70 years. Getting youngsters involved in flying is his passion, and he volunteers with the Young Eagles program taking kids for their first flight. In 2021, Dothan became home to the EAA Bill Castlen Aviation Education Center, equipped with a flight planning room and simulation room.

Mike Palmer

Mike has coached in Dothan Recreation leagues for over fifteen years. He loves working with young athletes and uses his time and talents to give back to the community. Mike was part of the 2019 coaching staff that won the Dixie World Series, a huge accomplishment for his team and the city of Dothan. He believes that hard work, effort, and attitude are the most important attributes of successful athletes.

Scotty Cox

Scotty, owner of BBS Fitness Systems, is a Certified Youth Fitness Instructor by IYCA (International Youth Conditioning Association) & has over 42 years of training experience. Currently, an average of 85-90% of athletes that work with BBS receive scholarship offers. Scotty has worked with, and currently works with, athletes on all levels, including MLB, NFL and NBA; however, teens and youth continue to be his heart and passion.

Jon Johnson

As a sports reporter for the Dothan Eagle for the last 38 years, Jon has seen it all in the world of sports and adventure in the Wiregrass. With a passion for storytelling, he has covered sports of all kinds and at all levels, but says his favorite reporting is local sports and watching athletes grow and progress over the years. Jon is one of the 50 Legends in the Alabama Sports Writers Association.

Steve Baxley

Steve is the owner and instructor at Wolfpack Karate and MMA in Dothan. Steve has three black belts from three different organizations and is a MMA instructor and Karate Sensei. He has trained past world champions in karate and students that have competed at the world level. He says martial arts is all about personal development and teaches students to never quit and to become the best version of themselves.

Jatin Patel

Jatin Patel owns Wiregrass Wildlife Removal where he removes nuisance animals from people’s homes and properties. While also being an adjunct professor at Troy. He is licensed through the US Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries to do this work. Jatin has been a licensed Master Class Falconer since 2004. In 2011, he traveled to India for several months, learning about the culture and customs of that country. He has also been asked to be the keynote speaker, educator, or public presenter for various organizations such as schools, civic organizations, Rotary Clubs, churches, and camps. Jatin loves exploring new things about the world and sharing what he learns with others.

Joe Varner

Joe Varner is an avid cyclist, but a regular day-to-day maintenance manager and family man. He has been the director of the TriStates100 since its inception in 2001. The TriStates100 ride consistently brings hundreds of cyclists from all over the nation to Dothan for this event. He has also been heavily involved with the Mayor’s Ride for Fitness, JonJam Bike Ride, Pedaling for a Cure Ride for Turkeys, and Toys for Tots Ride. He finds inspiration in his family and friends and always encourages them by telling them to “start where you are and take small steps towards your goals.” The most important part is consistency.

Charlene Commerford

Charlene is a Master Esthetician at MH Yoga in Dothan. While valuing adventure and getting active, she enjoys golf, swimming, CrossFit, and yoga. Charlene loves to go for long walks, hike, snorkel, participate in 5Ks, and teach spin classes. In addition to these activities, she is also a certified 200YTT yoga instructor and has completed 3 Warrior Dashes, 1 Tough Mudder, and most notably, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Charlene has been a part of numerous community service initiatives including, but not limited to: Ft. Rucker MR 80-mile walks, Band Aid for EHS, Champions of Hope, Jon Jam, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In 2012, she opened 2 Girls and a Spa, which was sold 8 years later and became Spa Novus. Charlene measures her success by how fulfilled she feels every day, as well as her travels and debt-free status. Her son, daughter, and husband are her greatest accomplishments. She believes there is nothing you cannot do if you do not put your mind to it. Take everything life has to offer because tomorrow is not promised.

Team Medeiros Boxing

Team Medeiros Boxing is a tight-knit family that has achieved amazing success in the boxing world. John and Angelie are coaches who have successfully trained their children, Jadalie, Jonathan, and Sebastian, to win many USA Boxing awards. In fact, this family has won the most USA Boxing awards of any family in history. Between them, they have competed in hundreds of matches and fights, with each member winning and qualifying for state matches. Jadalie is especially notable as she is currently ranked #1 in the country, making her a member of Team USA, competing internationally. The kids are also successful students and participate in many extracurricular activities. This family knows that hard work pays off. They embrace the world around them and enjoy life.

Evelyn Holmes-Smith

Evelyn is a student athlete who participates in wrestling and soccer. She is also involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and First Priority. Evelyn is active in her church, serving as a Children’s Connect Group leader at Highpointe and as a member of Student Serve. Her greatest accomplishment to date has been becoming a Fargo All American wrestler. Evelyn has a deep desire to be the best wrestler possible. She works hard every day to improve her skills, and she has great coaches, teammates, and a family who help her push herself to reach her goals. Wrestling is her mission field, and she wants to use her platform to tell others about her faith. When things get tough, Evelyn doesn’t give up; she knows that God can help her overcome any obstacle in life. She believes you can do anything you set your mind to, even when it gets hard, and it will, so don’t give up. The reward is worth it.

Mary Morgan Howell

Mary Morgan Howell

Mary Morgan is a professional wakeboarder with the World Wakeboard Association, as well as a student at Rollins College where she majors in International Business. She has been competing in wakeboarding competitions all over the world since she was 8 years old and has traveled to Australia, Japan, Peru, Mexico, Portugal, and Canada during her career. Mary Morgan is very involved with speaking at schools and tournaments through an organization called Wakewell. She has become the Vice President of FCA at Rollins College where she witnesses and shares her testimony to other students. Her faith is her main motivation, and she believes that growth and comfort do not go together. So, you must get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to adventure in the outdoors.

Kasey Cooper

Kasey is a 4th-year medical student at UAB Heersink School of Medicine and was inducted into the 2023 SEC Legends for her softball career. Kasey was a member of the Auburn University softball team from 2013 to 2017 and a part of the USA Softball Women’s National Team from 2016 to 2018. In 2019, she started hosting the annual Kasey Cooper Home Run Derby at the Dothan Diamond Classic. She has received numerous awards for her academics, Auburn, and USA Softball. Kasey is passionate about giving back to her community and inspiring others. She has volunteered her time to tutor, speak, and help students prepare themselves for careers in the Wiregrass area. Kasey believes that representation is important for anyone and that it is important for people to be able to rely on her. The patients that she encounters on a daily basis in medical school inspire a different perspective on life. She encourages others by reminding them that there are memories to be made, and there is no better time than now. If you do not prioritize your well-being, no one will.

Mike Culbreth

Mike is the director and instructor of the World Yoshukai Karate Kobudo Organization. He has competed in over 200 karate tournaments in the US and around the world. Mike is also very active within the community. He is the longest-running program director with Dothan’s Department of Leisure Services and has been providing free self-defense classes to women for over 45 years. In addition, he has provided self-defense classes to the Dothan Police Department and presented seminars on self-defense to local, state, and national organizations. Mike’s greatest accomplishment is his daughter, Brooke. He believes in encouraging and training others by leading them and teaching them to achieve their full potential.

AMBUCS of the Wiregrass

The grassroots effort, AMBUCS, is a national nonprofit with volunteers striving to empower others and make the world a more accessible place. Following some discussion in March 2012, the local chapter AMBUCS of the Wiregrass was formed and focuses on providing therapeutic tricycles to individuals with disabilities in the Wiregrass area. The local chapter has purchased 300 AmTrykes for that purpose with the continuous goal to inspire mobility and independence. WRC staff oversees the daily operations of Wiregrass AMBUCS, accepts applications, speaks at community events, schedules fittings with therapists and riders, orders Trykes, schedules Tryke assembling, and assists with fundraisers for AMBUCS of the Wiregrass.