Profiles
Preston Headrick
Joe Brewer
Laura Pennington 
 Helen Talley Wires
Lisa Chance Williams
Lacy Barnett
Jeremy Moon
DeeAnn Gibson
Sandy Combs Amerson

Preston Headrick -- Class of 67


Preston Headrick, I live at 323 Johnson Rd Hamilton, Al 35570. I have been married to Judi (J.J.)Johnson Headrick, formerly of Childersburg Alabama for almost 23 years. We have two children Jake a Junior who is at the University of Montevallo where he is a member of the basketball team and a daughter Jessye, a Freshman at Jefferson State in Hoover. Both of our children are a great blessing.
Favorite memory: When we ended a five-year losing streak to Cordova in football. We scored in the last two minutes.
Johnny Blackwell through a touchdown pass to Carl Ware. Mike Prince kicked the extra point. Ellis McDonald bit a plug out of a guy from Cordova's leg and accidentally bit one of his own players in the bottom of the pile. Ellis took the meaning of Bulldog quiet literally. It seemed like there were more people at that game than any high School Football game I had been to at the time.
Who was your favorite teacher and why? Mr. Gant was the greatest influence on my life of any faculty member at Dora High School.
Mrs. Andrews and Mrs. Ellison were my favorite teachers. Claude Kilgore was mighty gracious to me and I greatly appreciate that.
What was the most important thing you learned in school?
I think reading is the most important thing that I learned. When the Lord led me to go back to college in 1996 much had changed, but I knew that I could read and if you can read you can learn.
What are you currently doing and how did you arrive at this point in your life?
We are in our eighth year serving Bethlehem United Methodist Church. When I say we, I am the Pastor, but J.J. is my helper and we are a team. I worked in the family business at the Green To Cafe from 1974 until 1996. In 1990 I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. We told Him we would do what ever He wanted us to do and go wherever He wanted us to go. In 1993 we knew that I was called to preach. I went back to school at Birmingham Southern College at night. The Lord wanted to show me that He could take a C-student from Dora High School and work in the weak areas of my life. When I graduated from Birmingham Southern in 1996 we moved to Hamilton to take the role as the Pastoral family at Bethlehem. The Lord has blessed me by allowing me to receive my Masters in Divinity from Asbury Seminary in Wilmore Kentucky.

Who are your heroes?
Jesus Christ is my favorite Hero. He rescued me from the power of darkness. J.J. is my next favorite hero. She is a great instrument of His.
What do you want to do when you grow up? What are your dreams?
To glorify Christ. To Pastor a Church where people can be turned from darkness to light. A congregation where people learn what Jesus meant when He said " I have come so that they may have life and life more abundantly".
How do you want to be remembered?
I would really like to be remembered as an example of how Jesus Christ can change and transform the life of the foulest sinner.

Joe Brewer -- Class of 69

Name, where you currently live, family info, and the year you Graduated.
Joe Brewer (Joseph). Graduated in 1969. My wife and I live between Sumiton and Jasper at “Argo.” This is where I grew up and now have returned to. My son graduated high school in Japan and moved to Tacoma. He’s never seen himself as an Alabamian. He was never here long enough. My daughter lives in Boldo with her husband and three children.
What was your favorite high school memory?
Going to football games.
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
I’m glad they were there but I didn’t have a favorite in high school. I did at Sumiton, though. It was David Morgan.

What was the most important thing you learned in school?
English. The ability to speak and, more importantly, write correctly is one of my most valuable tools. I’ll tell you whut, I done used ‘em more ‘n’ once ‘n’ that ain’t no lie.
What are you currently doing and how did you arrive at this point
in your life?
I currently work for the Forest Service at Bankhead National Forest. I work in the business office handling a number of things in finance, human resources, and computer systems. I’m also a wildland firefighter and heavy equipment operator. I respond to wildfires at the Bankhead and occasionally travel to other parts of the country to assist on large fires and disasters, natural and manmade. It can sometimes be heartbreaking but overall, I love what I’m doing.
Prior to that, I retired from the Army. My career was spent mostly in in Germany and Japan, with some time in Latin America and at the Pentagon. I was in the infantry, then administration, and security.
I was drafted when I was 19, served two years and returned to the civilian world. I worked and went to school while my wife and I (mostly my wife) raised a couple of kids. I worked construction, carpentry, and in a pipe foundry. In 1979, I rejoined the Army and now enjoy the benefits.
I attended Alabama Christian and Birmingham Southern Colleges.

Who are your heroes?
My dad is gone now but he is my hero. He never had it easy but he always did his best for us.

What do you want to do when you grow up? What are your dreams?
I only have a few more years left with the Forest Service and I’m going to ride the river and sit on the porch.

How do you want to be remembered?
I’ll be remembered as “Paw Paw” and that’s good enough.

Any hobbies, special activities, pets, or anything of interest?
I do a little fishing and golfing but mostly just boating, watching football, and spending time with the grandkids. The youngest, Mary, not quite two years, loves to watch football with me. And I have a beagle named Crocodile (short for crocodile hunting dog). He does a good job. How many crocodiles have you seen in Argo?

Laura Pennington -- Class of 93


Name, where you currently live, family info, and the year you graduated
Laura Pennington, Jacksonville Florida, Married to Allen, with 2 dogs and a cat, 1993
What was your favorite high school memory?
Band trips and football games
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
If I were forced to choose, I would have to say Sandra Stricklen, because she always believed we could do more and expected us to show it. Randall Wallace was also great, he treated us as equals while still maintaining discipline in class.
What was the most important thing you learned in school?
How to interact with all types of people and situations, and that I didn't want to be a high schoolteacher-I don't have the patience!

What are you currently doing and how did you arrive at this point in your life?
After graduating from Dora, I went to Bevill for a couple of years and got my AS in Biology, then started working as a Medical Assistant at Carraway in 1995. While I was there I decided to become a nurse, so I went back to Bevill and took LPN classes full-time at night while I continued working at Carraway. After a while working as an LPN, I decided I was tired of HMO's and whiny people wanting drugs, so I went to UAB and finished my BS in Biology in 1999. Allen and I then packed up and moved to Pensacola in 2000. I also enlisted in the Army Reserve as an LPN shortly after moving to Pensacola, and went to Basic Training at Ft. Jackson SC. After returning from SC, I started graduate school at the U. of West Florida in 2001. I have finished all my coursework, and am planning on defending my thesis this summer (2004). In 2002, I was commissioned as an Environmental Science Officer in the Reserves. Currently, I am working in Jacksonville for the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection as an Environmental Scientist
Who are your heros?
All my fellow soldiers serving around the world
What do you want to do when you grow up? What are your dreams?
I would eventually like to be a natural resource manager for a State or National Park here in Florida, or somewhere just as warm!
How do you want to be remembered?
As someone who always tried to better herself, and make others feel better about themselves
Any hobbies, special activities, pets, or anything of interest?
Allen and I SCUBA dive, deep-sea fish, and ride motorcycles

Profile Helen Talley Wires

Helen Wires Talley-- Class of 65
Helen Wires Talley - I graduated from Dora High in 1965. I live in Goodsprings, AL close to Mulberry Fork Conservation Area. I have been married to Bob Talley for 32 years. I have two step-daughters and five grandchildren.
I really loved going to school so I have a lot of favorite memories, but I thought Class Night was just the best of all. Our theme was dances of years past. Some did the twist, some the jerk etc., and Cheryl Tuggle, Linda Atchley, and myself did the charleston. We dressed in the 20's costumes and had a ball dancing on stage. When we finished everyone in the audience kept clapping and Mr. Ellenberg was going to get us back out on stage for a second bow, but the next act came on stage and he said, "Oh, well, we just can't get you back out there."

I loved all of my teachers, but I remember a time in my adolecence when Mrs. Gant spent about 30 minutes talking to me about a problem I had. I thought it was so special that she would take time out to help me with a personal matter. I also was very fond of Mrs. Murray. She was very a very strict teacher, but when you worked hard, she always encouraged you. I remember making a little infant dress for my neice and I bet you she made me take out the hem and sew it again 50 times. The good thing about that was when it was done it was perfect.
I am currently retired due to illness. My husband is a Baptist Minister so I am trying to encourage him and help him with his paperwork when I can. I was in the Transportation business for 25 years and then went to work at UAB as a secretary to doctor John N. Whitaker in neurology. That is where I was working when it was discovered I had to have a hole in my heart repaired for the second time in my life. After that, I developed pneumonia and had complications and my family was called in twice to let them know I was not going to make it. But, by the grace of God, I am still here to carry out the work He has left me here to do.
My hero is God. He has broght me through many dark valleys in my life. My family that stood by me for the four months that I was in the hospital were also my heros. And, my heros are the men and women who serve in our armed forces. The policemen, firemen and other branches of service.
When I grow up I want to be a forensic scientist. I think that is the most interesting field. My parents could not afford to send me to college because my Dad was disabled to work since I was five years old. I was able to take college courses while I was working. I did not get a degree, but was able to obtain a college degree job because of my work record.
I would like to be remembered a woman who has love and compassion for everyone. I would also like to be remembered as someone that contributed her life to helping others.
My hobby is singing. I can't sing as good as I used to because of being on life support for so long, but I still give it a good try. We have a little dog named "Patches." She is very special because she saved our house from burning. My husband left the smoker lit on the back deck and ran to the store for just a moment. Patches was outside and when she saw the flames she began to bark until our neighbor came out, saw the smoke, and called 911. The fire was put out before it did any damage to the house. So, from that day forward she had the run of the house. She is 13-years old now, and we love having her still by our side.

Lisa Chance Williams-- Class of 82
Lacy Barnett

It certainly was not reassuring to go into combat with men carrying rifles that have a tag affixed that read “combat unserviceable”; or with men wearing tennis shoes into a combat zone where rice paddies are prevalent. General MacArthur knew the rifle and shoe situation and he had promised in early 1950 to immediately take appropriate actions – but 6 months later, no action had been taken. We went to war with left-over supplies and equipment from 1945 and the end of WW II. Throughout the months of July and August 1950, many of our men subsisted primarily on scrounged Korean food because our Army could not supply food to them on a timely basis. In August, one of our units was issued baby food instead of the usual Army food. When you are hungry, almost anything tastes good.The 540 men of Task Force Smith had their battle for a period of seven hours on 5 July, resulting in about 150 casualties. My 34th Infantry Regiment had its first battle during the afternoon of 5 July. As a member of Medical Company, I saw most of the killed and wounded.
During the remainder of July and August, we endured the continuous onslaught of the superior North Korean forces.
Lacy Barnett in dress uniform in 1957
It still amazes me as to how any of us survived the summer of 1950. By the end of August 50, the 34th Regiment was in terrible shape. We had entered Korea with 1,981 men and the official history states that by the end of August, there were only 184 of us still in Korea. The regiment was reduced to zero strength on 1 September 50 and those of us remaining in Korea, were reassigned to other infantry units.
In late November 1950, my unit, the 19th Infantry Regiment, was within 21 miles of the Manchurian border in North Korea. The Chinese entered Korea and it became a new ballgame. We retreated back into South Korea in December and the Chinese caught up with us on 31 December 50 – that is one New Year’s Eve that I will never forget – an abundant “fireworks” display by both sides. Then in January 1951, I was evacuated back to Japan for treatment of a kidney ailment. Fortunately, I did not have to go back to Korea and I spent the next several months on duty at Camp Zama, Japan.
In December 1951, I was promoted to Sergeant First Class (E-6) and was reassigned to Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Denver. In June 1952, I reported for duty at Fort McClellan, Alabama. In May 1953, at the urging of several people, I applied for a direct commission as a Second Lieutenant. In July 1953, while serving as enlisted aide to a three star general in Atlanta, I was sworn in as a 2d LT, Medical Service Corps. Upon call to active duty in October 1953, I departed for a tour of duty at Fort Sam Houston (San Antonio), Texas. Then in September 1954, I reported for duty at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Also serving there was Ellis Hill (Creeltown) who had graduated from Dora High in 1938 or 1939 – he graduated from Auburn University in 1942 and became an Army aviator. In 1955 I was promoted to 1st LT. In early 1956, I received orders for assignment to Tokyo Army Hospital. The hospital was near the Ginza and was also near the largest fish market in the world.

Lacy, his wife Alice, daughter Gwen, son Mike

While in Tokyo, I attended night classes at the University of Maryland, Far East Branch. In 1958, I was reassigned to the island of Okinawa where I was able to continue with the University of Maryland classes. In 1959, I was able to take a trip with the Navy to Bangkok, Manila, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In March 60, I was promoted to Captain.
In early 1960, I only needed 25 semester hours for my BA degree. The Army permitted me to go to University of Nebraska, Omaha, on a full-time basis from July 1960 to January 1961. After graduation from Omaha in January 1961, I reported for duty at William Beaumont Army Hospital, El Paso, Texas. That assignment was cut short and I was reassigned to Okinawa in September 1961 for a medical planning job. This involved medical planning for potential combat operations in Southeast Asia, with a primary planning focus on Thailand. We went on maneuvers to the Philippines in Feb 1962 and another maneuver to Thailand in April 62.
In Oct 62, I was given a Regular Army commission. At that time, the Pentagon informed me that I would attend an Army Service School in 1964 and then attend t he Hospital Administration Course in 1966.
The latter would result in me getting a Masters in hospital administration from Baylor University.
In January 1963, with only a 3 day notice, I was sent to Vietnam to serve as the head of the first medical civic action program there. By then, we had a son that was 12 and a daughter that was 10. The family remained on Okinawa while I was in Vietnam.
In Vietnam, I had nine medical teams under my supervision and our mission was to go out to the remote areas to treat Vietnamese civilians. These teams were all over South Vietnam and I had to travel extensively to supervise them. In many ways, it was a successful program. However, President Diem would not let his Army medics assist our teams. He was fearful that the Army would play a part in a coup against him by winning the hearts and minds of the peasant people. My teams operated in Viet Cong areas but were never bothered. There is no doubt but what we treated a lot of Viet Cong – we never attempted to ascertain between friend or foe – maybe that is why my medical teams were never bothered. While in Vietnam, I was able to take a week-end trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia. It is a shame that the 12th Century buildings were almost destroyed later.
After Vietnam, I attended the Army Medical Service Advanced Course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas in 1964. Then it was back to Okinawa to be the Chief, Medical Plans and Operations of the Medical Center. Our main mission was to support the buildup in Vietnam. I made liaison visits to Vietnam in Dec 1964 and again in May 1965. In June 1965, I had to visit Manila to ascertain whether or not there were adequate civilian facilities to position 2,000 hospital beds. There was nothing in Manila suitable because all hotels there had narrow hallways and the elevators were too small. Then I developed detailed plans to utilize empty barracks on Okinawa for the hospital facilities. It was a beautiful plan but the Pentagon gave the Army barracks to the Marines. The hospitals were sent to the Yokohama-Tokyo area, in less than ideal conditions. In Dec 1964, I was promoted to Major.
In December 1965, I received orders to attend the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, beginning in 1966. The Pentagon informed me that my service from 1961 to 1965 in medical plans and operations had been outstanding – and they wanted me to remain in that field rather than switch to hospital administration. This was not acceptable to me so I declined the orders to Fort Leavenworth. In early 1966, I had 20 years of military service and I decided that I would retire. I served at Fort Devens, MA (near Boston) until early 1967. By that time, I was within 18 months of being in the zone of consideration for promotion to LT Colonel. This was not adequate incentive for me to remain in the Army at that time. I have never regretted giving up the promising career.
My retirement application was approved, effective 1 April 1967 as a Major, when I was still 39 years of age. Resumes were sent out and the best job offer was here in Indiana as the administrator of the local civilian hospital.



Lacy Barnett Today
I began work here 3 weeks before the effective date of my Army retirement. It was a highly successful civilian career but it ended on my 48th birthday in 1975 when I had a heart attack. I have been retired since 1975.
In 1973, I received a Masters in Health Science from Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. When I had the heart attack in 1975, I only needed two more courses to get a second Masters in Social Psychology.
Since 1976 we have traveled extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, and Alaska. Starting in 1978, we made several trips to Europe: Italy, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Yugoslavia, and Russia. Two trips were made to the Far East (Japan, Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan). I think our last trip was in 1992 and now I do not have any desire to travel.
The last 17 years have been spent researching the early days of the Korean War. A lot of new and unpublished information has been uncovered in official documents at the National Archives and through the interview of key people that were in Korea in 1950.
My manuscript is essentially completed and I plan to publish a book in the near future. It will be about 500 pages with a lot of maps and photographs. One of my best supporters on the project is a retired three star general and he provided me with a lengthy narrative. He was a Lieutenant in my regiment in 1950. Several Colonels have been supportive. Numerous enlisted men have provided narratives to me that cover their Korean War experiences. A retired one star general has written one of the chapters for my book. A retired Colonel is writing another chapter for me. These two chapters greatly enhance the story that I am attempting to relate.
We have been blessed with a son and a daughter. He is a mechanical engineer and she is a Ph.D. Accounting professor at Ball State University. There are 4 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. We play duplicate bridge at least once a week and Alice spends one day each week as a volunteer at the Animal Rescue Fund in Muncie. Alice was born in China – her father was French and her mother Japanese. One month after birth, her father was transferred to Hanoi, North Vietnam. Alice grew up in Hanoi and attended French school. Her father died when she was 4 and her mother remained in Hanoi. Alice was fluent in French and Vietnamese. When the fighting began in 1946, between the French and Vietnamese, Alice and her mother moved to Japan. By 1948, Alice had learned to speak Japanese and English but did not learn how to read and write Japanese, except at a very basic level. She worked for the U.S. Army as a clerk-interpreter. We met in 1949, working in the same office, and the rest is history.
At the age of 75, I feel blessed to be alive and in good health. Fortunately, I only take one medication daily and that is for burning feet - probably caused by the extremely cold temperatures in Korea in 1950 – 20 to 30 degrees below zero days were frequently prevalent – and we were not issued winter boots and clothing until late December 1950. Only through the Grace of God did I survive Korea, Vietnam, and other dangers, both mental and physical. And only through the Grace of God am I retired with an adequate income for a comfortable living. I certainly did not plan my life and career – I am thankful to God that it has been a good life and I have had a good career.
Each day I read the on-line editions of the Jasper Mountain Eagle and the Birmingham News.
It would make me extremely happy to hear from anyone within the Dora-Sumiton-Empire-Creeltown-Coon Creek area. Questions in reference to the content of this narrative, or in reference to any subject, will be welcomed.
Lacy Clayton Barnett
PO Box 167
Winchester, IN 47394
Tel 765.584.1280
E-mail: abarnett@globalsite.net

Jeremy Moon -- Class of 95

Jeremy Moon -- Class of 95
I'm Jeremy Moon. I'm currently stationed in Washington D.C. I am married to Andrea Lombard of Jasper. I have 2 handsome little boys; John-Bailey, 3 and Eli, 4 months. I graduated with honors in '95. My favorite memory is playing football (in the traditional gold helmets) with a great group of guys and going undefeated in class 5A in '92. My favorite teacher is one who never had me in any of his classes; my dad, Bill Moon. The reason, other than the obvious, is that I have watched for 27 years as he has devoted his life to helping young people become successful adults. The most important thing I learned in high school was that you only get out of life what you put into it, which was also our class motto. I am currently serving as a presidential honor guardsman in the U.S. Coast Guard working in ceremonies for President George W. Bush and traveling from Arlington National Cemetery to cities around the country performing full honors funerals for fallen servicemen.
My hobbies are running and playing basketball and softball. My heroes are my grandfather, James M. Nix, and Paul "Bear" Bryant. My future goals are to complete a successful career in the Coast Guard, return home to Alabama to teach high school, and eventually pursue a political position.
My dream is to own a few acres of land in beautiful Burnwell, Alabama complete with a log cabin, a couple of horses, and a muddy 4-wheel drive with a bass boat hitched to the back; no more, no less. I guess you can take the boy outta the kawntry, but you can't take the kawntry outta the boy. I just want to be remembered as a man willing to give whatever it takes to help others, because sacrificing a few seconds for someone in need could change their life forever..

UPDATE: Jeremy Moon -- Class of 95
Jeremy Moon who was profiled a few months ago was one of the Honor Guards in the Funeral for former President Ronald Reagan. Jeremy is currently stationed in Washington D.C. I am married to Andrea Lombard of Jasper. He is often on the presidential detail participating in special events in Washington.
He has been featured in the Daily Mountain Eagle and most recently mentioned in a story about the Reagan Funeral in The Birmingham News. 

DeAnna Gibson

DeAnna Gibson -- class of 1997, currently lives in Phil Campbell. She has a three year old son named Austin Bailey Gibson. "My favorite memory was the senior play because we all worked together and did a great job" she remembers.
Her favorite teacher? "My favorite teacher would have to be Mrs. Jimmie Sue Sides Davis because she listened to her students and gave good advice" says DeAnna.
One important thing she learned is that you should never take for granted your high school years because you will wonder where it all went.
"I am currently going to Northwest Shoals Community College where I am planning to transfer to study for my Law Degree" she says. "It has taken a lot of heartache and hard work to get to where I am today."
Her heroes are God and my son.
When asked what she wanted to be when she grows up, DeAnna says " Well, I thought I was already grown up (lol) but, I want to be a lawyer if that doesn't change like a dozen times before. My dream is to have love and happiness and remember money cannot buy any of these.
She wants to be remembered as someone who did the best I could do and never gave up no matter how tough things got .DeAnna's hobbies are: spending time with my family and friends, music and movies, and cuddling up by myself to read a good book.

Sandy Combs Amerson-

Sandy Combs Amerson--I live in Union Chapel with my husband L.J. I have 3 stepsons and Mark, the youngest, lives with us. My mother Helen Combs still lives in Dora at the old home place. I graduated from Dora in 1967.
I have 2 high school memories--Graduation night--I was born with Cerebral Palsy which affected my legs-and I wore leg braces and crutches but most of the time I had to have 2 people help me walk.That night, I led the graduation class coming into the gym with Billy Joe Cummings on one side of me and Mike Prince on the other side of me. Boy, I had reached one of my goals in life, to graduate from High School and Glen Gant giving me my diploma! Another memory is going to the Beta Club Conventions with Mrs. Josephine Andrews and her husband, Paul.
I had no favorite teacher--all of my teachers were great and I was treated no different than any other student--as far as learning , grades or anything else.
This is what I wanted to be treated like "everyone else'.
There were (and still are) great people who attended Dora High School---in attending school with my classmates and other students, I was taught that a person with a handicap didn't have to be treated as such--I was one of the gang!!
I am semi-retired. I went to Jeff. State Jr. College, University of Montevallo and received a double major in Speech Pathology and Psychology. I worked as a Speech Language Pathologist for the Walker County Board of Education for 27 years. I came out of retirement to work for the Board as a Contract SLP for the County School System. The reason I went into speech pathology is as a child, I would go to the CP telethons in Birmingham and be a theme child. I often sat with the adults or children that had Cerebral Palsy and I could understand what they said. God opened the door for me to let me know what I needed to do with my life. I wanted to help people like I had been helped throughout my life. I have not regretted my decision on my career for one minute. It has been very rewarding!
My parents were and are still my heros. Dad died 10 years ago and Mother is still in Dora. They instilled in me that I was no different than anyone else just because I walked different. They taught me courage, understanding and the meaning of determination in order to succeed in life and to try and never give up. I followed their advice...I tried, and I did succeed. Yes, my parents were and still are my heroes!!!!
I am doing what I wanted to do--and I am still fulfilling my dreams and goals.
I want to be remembered as Sandy Combs who never let anything get in her way--she met everything and every obstacle head on--showing determination, understanding and love for her family and friends and or any person she came to know.
I love to talk and anyone who knows me knows THAT. I enjoy getting on the Dora High Alumni Website and look up old friends.




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