Because of her efforts with High Socks for Hope, she and volunteers have aided more than 500 families in crisis due to fires, floods, tornadoes, domestic violence, and other devastating events. More than 200 of those she has assisted have been homeless or disabled veterans and their families.
The following Northport leaders were also honored:
Michael Holt, the owner of Tiger Rock Martial Arts, was named Business Leader of the Year. Heavily involved with the local school system, Holt volunteers his time for “character talks” designed to encourage the students in each classroom to realize their highest potential in all aspects of their lives. Through his business, Holt is involved in the Adopt-A-School program as an adopter for Northport Elementary School.
Rafael Alvarez, a four-time Olympian, two-time Bronze Medalist, SEC Champion and member of the University of Alabama’s Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame during his time at the University, chose to remain in the United States rather than returning to his native Spain, and today serves as a translator and interpreter for Flatwoods Elementary School. A full-time instructor at UA, he also devotes himself to serving families whose native language is not English, assisting parents in how to help their children succeed. In a school in which 40 percent of the children arrive speaking another language, Alvarez allows them to obtain the tools they need to have the opportunities to become contributing members of the community.
Historian / Pioneer
Ruby Battle, the Historian/Pioneer of the Year, has served the Northport community her entire life with dignity. Now age 98, she has served as an educator and mentor to many. She is a charter member of Friends of Historic Northport, and her contributions helped to establish the Northport Heritage Museum. Battle’s efforts have added much to the documentation of the history and heritage of Northport. A teacher for more than 50 years in the Tuscaloosa County School System, she taught more than five generations of students, touching countless lives.
Public Safety Leader
A firefighter for the past 18 years, Billy Curington has served the city well in the capacity of sergeant for the past 12 years. Before becoming a firefighter, he was a paramedic, which is an added benefit to the citizens of Northport. One of the many duties he has taken on is maintaining the department’s equipment, and keeping supplies stocked and organized. He is proactive, and diligent, and personally purchased both a drone and a GoPro camera for use when the department is in need of digital footage. He is skilled in equipment installation, making consoles for the fire engines and installing equipment on the department’s all-terrain vehicle. He is responsible for ensuring the medical supplies are stocked and organized. Curington is highly skilled, trained and well equipped to handle an array of issues facing the Fire Department.
The guest speaker for the event, Trudy Cathy White is a native Georgian and the daughter of the late Jeannette and S. Truett Cathy, the founder and chairman emeritus of Chick-fil-A, Inc.
Trudy and her husband, John, are co-founders of Lifeshape. Lifeshape’s mission is to glorify God by breaking the cycle of spiritual poverty, and provides opportunities for the Chick-fil-A family and other marketplace professionals to build relationships and be catalysts for the transformation of leaders around the world. Lifeshape implements more than 50 projects in nearly 30 countries each year.
The Citizen of the Year program is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. The Northport Citizen of the Year Dinner is presented by Tuscaloosa Hyundai / Genesis of Tuscaloosa. The Gold Sponsor is the City of Northport. Silver Sponsors for the event are BBVA Compass and Cintas.