McLendon honored with library naming

Published 8:35 pm Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Sprayberry Education Center in Northport has named its new library in memory of Robert McLendon of Brundidge.

McLendon’s granddaughter, Annie Allen, 7, attends Sprayberry Education Center and her sister, Elle, 9, attends the gifted program. McLendon’s daughter, Carla Allen, is the president of the school’s PTO.

The library was dedicated in “recognition and appreciation of (McLendon’s) love of Elle and Annie and the Sprayberry Center.”

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The memorial plaque will be placed outside the new library.

“This was a complete surprise to me and we were so honored,” Carla Allen said. “It was an awesome way to honor Daddy because it is something that will mean so much to Elle and Annie and their friends. Sprayberry has received a lot of memorial contributions from friends in Brundidge and Troy and those contributions will be used for the further development of the library.”

The Sprayberry Education Center is the special education facility for Tuscaloosa County and has 80 students. About 400 students are enrolled in the gift program there once a week.

“Daddy attended many of the girls’ school activities with my mother,” Allen said. “Annie has been at Sprayberry since she was three years old so everyone at the school knew him. When Daddy got to the school, a lot of people would follow him to see Annie’s reaction when she saw him. There was a real bond between them.”

Allen said both of her daughters will benefit from the library but especially Annie.

“The school had not had a library until the spring and it was started from scratch,” she said. “It’s still a work in progress but it gives the special needs students a place to go that gets them out of the classroom and into a different setting. Daddy would be very honored to know that this special place was named for him.”

Robert McLendon and his wife, Nell, have been very supportive of the school and were greatly involved in the cookbook fundraising project, which was initiated by their daughter.

The “Game Day Specialties” cookbook featured favorite recipes of the SEC coaches’ wives and raised more than $17,000 for the school.

“We now have “Tailgating with the Stars,” which is a fundraising event at ‘The Zone,’” Allen said. “It’s a spin off of the cookbook project and features celebrity speakers, a silent auction and other activities. My parents enjoyed coming up to it. They missed this year because Daddy was going in the hospital for surgery.”

Robert McLendon died on Sept. 24, 2010, but his memory will live on though the library that will open doors to the world for very special children.