Honoring a special Alabama citizen

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 9, 2004

One of the most rewarding parts of my job as your State Senator is the opportunity it affords me to meet and get to know many interesting and wonderful people.

Unfortunately, many of these new friends pass away, as we all will at some point in time.

Several years ago when I was seeking office for the first time, I met a gentleman from Ozark by the name of Oscar C. Dunn.

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I found Oscar to be a gentle, caring person from the first time I was with him, but it did not occur to me then that I would form a long, meaningful relationship that continues beyond his death.

This past Friday I had the privilege of being a speaker on a program at Camp ASCCA-Easter Seals for the dedication of the Oscar C. Dunn Rotary Environmental Center.

Camp ASCCA-Easter Seals is a place where dreams come true for people with disabilities.

Located on Lake Martin, Camp ASCCA has been serving people with disabilities for more than 29 years.

It is the world’s largest year-round barrier free camp.

The philosophy of Camp ASCCA is to offer an exciting camp program geared to the age, interest, and ability of its campers.

This involves learning new skills, making new friends, participating in programs such as swimming, water-skiing, arts and crafts and many other interesting opportunities for people with disabilities.

The Oscar C. Dunn Rotary Environmental Center is the latest new building on the campground and is a state of the art facility which is the most ambitious capital project ever undertaken by Camp ASCCA.

The dedication ceremony was a beautiful occasion, attended by Oscar’s widow, Dorothy Dunn, and other members of his family.

The new camp administrator, John Stephenson, presided over the ceremony and the Director of Environmental Education for Camp ASCCA, Dan Gilliland, organized the event.

Many of Oscar’s friends from Ozark and Dale County, including my long time friend, Dr. Bob Crosby, were present.

Mr. Dunn touched so many lives with his volunteer service during his lifetime that I strongly felt he should be honored in some way for his significant contribution to humankind.

In a discussion about how to do this shortly after Mr. Dunn’s death, Dr. Crosby actually made the first suggestion that it would be most appropriate to name something at Camp ASCCA for Oscar.

I adopted this idea and provided the &uot;seed money&uot; to get this project started.

The Rotary Clubs of Alabama pitched in with significant financial support, as did many individuals who knew of Oscar’s generosity and self-lessness.

To see this Center become a reality last week was a true blessing, not only for the memory of Oscar Dunn but for the many disabled children and adults who will use this facility for years to come.

Senator Wendell Mitchell can

be reached at 334-242-7883, or by writing

to P.O. Box 225, Luverne, AL 36049.