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Troy’s Jackson recognized

during governor’s conference

By JAINE TREADWELL

Features Editor

Shelia Jackson, director of tourism for the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, was recognized as one of Alabama’s

"Unforgettable Faces" at the Annual Governor’s Conference of Tourism in Mobile July 21-24.

The 10

recipients of the "Unforgettable Faces" awards were honored at a luncheon on Monday.

Jackson said to be among a group of people she holds in such high esteem was a very humbling experience.

"Although I had known for some time that I would receive the award, I was overwhelmed when they called my name," she said. "I couldn’t think of a thing to say."

The Unforgettable Faces included Charlie Lucas, a self-taught artist from Prattville, who has made his mark in the world of art using scrap materials and objects other people have thrown away.

Lucas is widely known in the Pike County area and his work is greatly appreciated.

Other "Unforgettable Faces" were Johnny Dancy, Jerry Daniel, Verna Gates, Danny Lewis, Aura J. "Bucky" Miller, Dorothy Pacey and Harvey and Joyce Robbins.

If there were those among the 325 people at the

2002 Alabama Tourism Awards Banquet Monday night who didn’t recognize Jackson’s face, no one there will forget her voice.

Jackson sang "America the Beautiful" during a four-minute video of the "Alabama the Beautiful." She literally brought down the house, according to Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford.

"As always, Shelia was fantastic," Lunsford said. "She is a wonderful representative of Troy and Pike County and she will be a wonderful representative for our state. We are proud of her and for her and we congratulate her."

What made this spotlight performance "the most special" of her life was that she shared it with her daughter Haley.

The 10-year-old played piano for her mother to sing, and for Jackson, the moment was magical.

"She had several solo parts and she played beautifully," Jackson said. "I was proud of her. She deserved the spotlight. She was wonderful."

Haley did get her share of the spotlight and Jackson was happy to step into the background.

"So many people came over to Haley and congratulated her on her performance," Jackson said. "It was a wonderful feeling to share that experience with her. We both will remember it – always."

Awards were presented in 14 categories. A name that is familiar among Wiregrass residents is Ron Devane of Dothan.

Devane’s dinner theater in Dothan, The Understudy, received the Extra Mile Award and Devane personally received the Alabama Governor’s Tourism Award.

The Understudy is home of the highly touted play, "Grits on the Side" and brings positive recognition, bus loads of

tourists and mega bucks to the area each year.

Other awards presented were: Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame (Talmadge Butler, Pedro Mandoki and Dana Lee Tatum), Alabama Attraction of the Year (USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park), Alabama Event of the Year (Trail of Tears Commemoration and Motorcycle Ride), Alabama Tourism Advocate Award – Government (Mayor Jim Byard Jr.), Alabama Tourism Advocate Award – Media (Lynn Grisard Fullman), Alabama Tourism Organization of the Year (Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau), Alabama Tourism Partnership Award (Alabama Bass Trail), Alabama Tourism Professional of the Year (Mike Foster), Alabama Welcome Center of the Year (Lanett Welcome Center) and ABTT Employee of the Year (Gail Gwen).