2023 Morgan County Leadership Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2023 Morgan County Leadership Hall of Fame, which also served to raise funds for Morgan County Schools, took place on Tuesday, March 28th at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in Decatur, Alabama.

MR. James B. Odom

Mr. James (Jim) B. Odom was a pioneer in our nation’s space program, including the Saturn launch vehicles that put the first man on the moon. He began his engineering career with Chemstrand Corporation in Decatur, AL. In 1956, while a serviceman, he accepted an engineering position with the U.S. Army’s Rocket & Research Development team at Redstone Arsenal and was involved with the development of Redstone and Jupiter missiles. He transferred to the Marshall Space Flight Center in 1959, prior to its formal establishment in 1960. At the Marshall Center, Mr. Odom held various engineering and technical positions that virtually spanned America’s entire spaceflight program. He was actively involved in the development of earth satellites and unmanned space probes prior to his assignment as chief of the Engineering and Test Operations Branch for the second stage of the Saturn V launch vehicle. In April 1973, Mr. Odom received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his outstanding technical and management leadership and effectiveness in the design, development, verification, and launch support of the S-2 stages. In September 1981, he received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal for his outstanding contributions to the development of the Space Shuttle and its successful first orbital flight test. In June1985, he was awarded the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive in recognition of sustained accomplishments and exceptional technical and managerial performance marked by contributions to the External Tank; also, in recognition of significant advances made under his leadership in the management of the Space Telescope Project.

MR. Destin Sandlin

Mr. Destin Sandlin is an aerospace engineer best known for his educational video series, Smarter Every Day (SED). Launched in 2007, SED - a science-focused YouTube channel, now has over 10 million subscribers and over 1 billion views, making it one of YouTube’s top-rated science channels. His videos explore a wide array of topics including flight, space, and fluid dynamics. In 2016, Sandlin was one of just three YouTube personalities chosen to host a one-on-one interview with President Obama after his final State of the Union address. Prior to finding internet success, Mr. Sandlin served as a Department of Defense Missile Test Engineer at the Redstone Arsenal for 15 years. In 2021, he received the Alumni of Achievement award for Outstanding Young Alumni from the University of Alabama Huntsville. Smarter Every Day continues to grow with the addition of Sandlin’s podcast No Dumb Questions, produced alongside his friend, Matt Whitman.

Ms. Peggy Towns

Ms. Peggy Towns is a local historian and author of African American history. After 20 years serving as a district aide in the US House of Representatives, she followed her passion to preserve, promote, and educate others about African American history and legacy. Since 2012, Ms. Towns has published three books that share Decatur’s history, from Civil War to Civil Rights issues, "Duty Driven: The Plight of North Alabama's African Americans During the Civil War”. The other two titles are "Scottsboro Unmasked. Decatur's Story," and "Scapegoat. The Tommy Lee Hines Story." Ms. Towns has been instrumental in efforts of obtaining the Alabama Historical Markers recognizing Old Town as a historic district and the oldest community in Decatur and the eleven OnCell Tour markers that provide insight on Decatur's Old Town history. Ms. Towns serves on the Decatur Morgan County Tourism Board of Directors and the Morgan County Genealogy Board of Directors, among other civic groups. She has been presented with many recognitions and awards for service. Most recently, she was presented with the Virginia Van Der Veer Hamilton Award by the Alabama Historical Association and the Athena Leadership Award by the Decatur Morgan Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Towns continues to serve by providing lectures and facilitates workshops on genealogy, local people, and historical places.

Mr. George Crawford

Mr. George E. Crawford was a community leader and career tech education advocate. After other careers including barber and auto mechanic, he began his career in education at Brewer High School in 1984 as the Auto Mechanics Instructor. He was later promoted to assistant principal and Director of Maintenance and Transportation. Mr. Crawford was an entrepreneur. He owned and operated the Morgan City Barber Shop as well as the A-1 Truck Stop and Garage and Crawford’s Garage. He was instrumental in the creation of the Brindlee Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, where he was Fire Chief for 20 years. He also served as an adjunct Instructor for Alabama State Fire College and Chairman of East Morgan County Industrial Development Board for the Industrial Park of Eva, now known as the George Crawford Industrial Park.



If you would like to nominate someone for the Morgan County Leadership Hall of Fame, you may do so by completing the nomination form and submitting it to a member of the Hall of Fame Committee listed on the form.

The Morgan County Schools Foundations is a 501c3 non-profit organization that operates solely from the generous donations from individuals and businesses who share our desire to make our schools and students the best that they can be.

P. O. Box 5344, Decatur, AL 35601

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