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Glance addresses Achiever nominees

It was standing room only' at the fifth annual Achievers Awards banquet Thursday night at the First Baptist Family Life Center. Twenty-seven seniors from Butler County's three public and two private schools represented the best of the best' in athletics, academics, and Christian commitment in an event sponsored jointly by the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greenville Area YMCA.

Following a meal catered by Jill Stallworth, the 40-plus event sponsors were recognized.

The 2001 winners, Meredith Mosley and Patrick Skipper, both currently freshman at Auburn University, gave brief speeches. Many earlier winners were also present that evening and recognized by Master of Ceremonies Ralph Stacy.

The keynote speaker for the evening was a native Alabamian who has the distinction of serving as head coach in both the Auburn and Alabama athletic programs: three-time Olympian and 1976 Olympic gold medalist, Harvey Glance.

Record-setting Glance, quite literally once the "fastest man in the world", has a long list of accolades under his belt. The world class sprinter has also won gold medals in the Pan American games, the World Cup, the Goodwill Games and the World Championships and was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.

As a coach, he has mentored 143 All-Americans, eight National Champions, five Olympians and Southeastern Conference Athlete of the Year and Cross-Country MVP.

He is one of Alabama's top 100 Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century and 23rd on the Sports Illustrated List of 50 Greatest Sports Figures.

Still, the accomplishment he says he is most proud of is being a family man

a husband and dad of a 20-year-old son. The single thing he is proudest of is "being a Christian."

His schedule carries him all over the world, but Glance says he especially enjoys being asked to speak "at home."

"We are a special people here in Alabama…and tonight I am surrounded by bright, positive, successful people, I really like that," Glance noted.

The native of Phenix City, once known as Sin City, USA', said he grew up in a rough neighborhood with many negative influences. "I determined I was going to surround myself with positive things…mentally, if not physically. I wanted to be the next Jesse Owens," he recalled.

"You all have to choose the road you travel just as I did. It takes hard work, sacrifice and dedication to be an Olympian achiever in life. You all are achievers and I am proud of everyone in this room…many thanks to the parents and family members who came out and supported these young people," Glance said.

Glance encouraged all present to have the "audacity to dream".

"Remember you are your biggest competitor and obstacle…never fall back on the could have-should have-would have' mentality if you can help it. Move beyond yourself and reach higher than you possibly think you can go.

"Appreciate every moment you live as a gift from God and recognize that what you do with your life is up to you

your choice," Glance stressed.

Following the standing ovation Glance received for his speech, the announcement was made of the male and female 2002 Achiever Award recipients. McKenzie High's Ricky Sallie and Fort Dale Academy's Ashley Paulk took home the trophies and scholarships, along with the congratulations of many family members, classmates and friends.

The Achiever Award is patterned after the Jimmy Hitchcock Award of the Montgomery YMCA with nominees selected by the principal/headmaster and the athletic director from each Butler County high school. A panel of out-of-town judges selects the recipients of the annual award, based on athletic achievement and Christian, community and academic leadership.