Chris Edwards' first connection with Dora High School was as an eighth grader attending Sumiton Jr. High. "Coach Morgan came in the locker room during Jr. high football practice and said he wanted us to give wrestling a try after football season," Chris explains "The school needed a few lightweights to fill the lower classes." "A couple of us decided to give it a shot," he says. After enduring a season of football, Edwards thought the wrestling team would be a piece of cake. He quickly learned that this was not the case! "I wrestled on the varsity in the 98 pound class and got my tail whupped most of the time," he muses "But I did manage to win nine matches which, as an eighth grader, felt pretty good."
Chris played football with the Dawgs until a pinched nerve caused severe back and leg pain "cutting my promising career as a bench warmer short," he says with a smile.
He did continue on the wrestling team and
placed in the State Finals - in the 152 pound class A - 5A division. His record that year was 38 and 8.
"Dora High will always be a pleasant memory for me," says Edwards” I really enjoyed school, being around my friends and the teachers. The Pep Rallies before the ball games were always a lot of fun because it gave us a chance to cut loose." Chris related one story when he, Jimi Westbrook, and Steven Manasco assumed the role of cheerleaders in a skit that brought the house down at one of the rallies. This skit is always on the "hi-light film" at class reunions. "Just thinking about that brought a smile to my face," Chris says.
Chris graduated from Dora High in 1989 and later married Stacy Street (Dora Class of 1990). He is the proud father of Trevor (The Bulldog) Edwards, a sophomore at Dora; and Hollie Edwards, an 8th grader at Sumiton Jr. High.
After High School, Edwards attended Wallace State Community College from 1989 to 1991 and also Bevill State in 2002 where he completed a certificate course for Emergency Medical Technician. In 1991, he married Stacy and began his career at Edwards Insurance Agency, a family business started by his parents Aaron C. Edwards and Brenda C. Edwards.
In 1995, he joined the Dora Volunteer Fire Department. "They told me when I joined the department that I would either love it or hate it!" He must have loved it because he has been there ever since and now serves as Fire Chief (since 1999).
Chris’s tenure as chief has seen a lot of progress for the department. Dora has added Emergency Medical Response, built a new fire station, received three separate FEMA grants for fire equipment and a grant for a new pumper truck. "We lowered our ISO rating, which is a good thing, from class 6 to class 5," Edwards explains. A Lower ISO rating normally means lower insurance premiums for homeowners.
Edwards got involved with the East Walker Chamber of Commerce in 1995 and has served on the Board of Directors for the past several years and held the office of President in 2006 and 2007. "I had the privilege of being part of the restructuring and development of our chamber office," Chris says "and I am proud to say that today the chamber is going strong and will help this side of Walker County to grow, making the future bright for the people who live and work here."
Edwards had been thinking about running for the Mayor of Dora for several years. As the election date loomed, he discussed the idea with his wife Stacy and a number of prominent citizens of Dora. The outcome of those talks was encouraging. One factor that weighed heavily on his decision was that if elected mayor, he couldn't continue as the Fire Chief. He felt that both the fire and police departments are strong and would be fine.
Edwards feels his has the knowledge, skills, abilities and experience to help revive the business climate of Dora. "I have a vision of where our town should be in ten to twenty years and it's a long way from where we are now. We have fewer businesses now than when I graduated in 89," he laments "we are missing out on opportunities for growth and we may one day be absorbed by surrounding communities and lose our identity all together." He says surrounding communities are growing and Dora should be growing too.
If elected mayor, he plans to utilize his business experience and contacts in Montgomery and throughout the State to help revitalize the city.
"I feel I am the right person, and this is the right time to turn Dora around securing commercial and residential development for our future," he says. Four more years may be too late for Dora. I-22 (Corridor X ) is scheduled to be completed by 2011 and this will open Birmingham to Memphis. This should bring an economic boom for the Western Corridor of Alabama. We have to establish a plan for Dora and set goals to take full advantage of that growth."
When asked how he will know he has been a success, Chris says, "Personally, I already feel successful. I have a great family and a lot of friends. I enjoy my job at Edwards Insurance and helping others through my work with the fire department. If I become mayor, success can be measured by a successful park and recreation division, a community that works together and an increase of job and shopping opportunities in Dora with a balanced budget.
NOTE: Chris Edwards and The Edwards Agency have been sponsors of DoraHighSchool.com from the very start of the web site