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Carl: Honoring South Alabama’s hometown heroes

Last week, I had the honor of recognizing several hometown heroes in South Alabama who have made an impact in their community over the past year. This past year has been tough on millions of Americans as we battle the COVID pandemic and endure countless hardships, but I’m proud of so many folks in South Alabama who make our community a better place.

Brian Copes, a manufacturing instructor for the City of Chickasaw school system is leading an effort to develop inexpensive prosthetic limbs that will change the lives of many amputees throughout Latin America. Students from all disciplines have been working together to create a real non-profit business, and eventually, these students will travel to Latin America to not only fit amputees but also to aid the amputees in rehabilitation as they learn to walk with their new prosthetics.

Natalie Fox, assistant administrator and chief nursing officer for USA Physicians Group and USA Health, has been the lead coordinator of the University of South Alabama’s Health system community testing and vaccination site for the Mobile region. To date, she has overseen the successful implementation of over 26,000 COVID-19 vaccinations administered since December 15 and over 50,000 COVID tests performed since the pandemic began. Natalie has worked tirelessly to meet the high demands on the health care system for the past year, and we are incredibly thankful for her hard work and dedication to the people of South Alabama.

Jennifer Myrick of Fairhope has been a critical figure in recovery efforts after Hurricanes Sally and Zeta. Jennifer worked through the Fairhope United Methodist Church to set up an independent point of distribution to hand out crucial supplies to the public. She also headed up a feeding program with those supplies and is an active member of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster through Baldwin County Emergency Management where she helped fulfill many needs throughout the county. Jennifer also worked with the Fairhope Police Department to keep officers, dispatchers and corrections officers fed during a long stretch following the hurricanes.

Kathy Couey, the recreation superintendent for the City of Chickasaw goes above and beyond the day-to-day responsibilities to make the city a better and healthier place for families to live. Her creativity is limitless and she has a true servant’s heart. With so many people working and learning from home over the past year, staying active and getting outdoors has been critical to people’s physical and mental health. Kathy’s hard work has made Chickasaw a better place to live and raise a family.

Virtually no person across our country has not been impacted in some way by the pandemic, natural disasters and the countless other challenges that have come our way over the course of the past year or so. Although we are living in difficult times, I couldn’t be prouder to be an American, and I couldn’t be more thankful for so many incredible people all over my district and all over the nation who work hard each day, not for fame, recognition, or money, but for the betterment of their friends and neighbors. This is what makes America strong, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to recognize just a few of these unsung heroes who have made an impact on their community during this past year.

If you know of a hometown hero who has made a difference in your community and would like to nominate them to be recognized, please send their name, location, description and a photo to honorahero.carl@gmail.com by March 12 so they can be recognized.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

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