As 2016 draws to an end, it’s a great time to take a look back at some of the good news of the past year. Throughout these final days of the year, Alabama NewsCenter will share stories you responded to the most in various categories, along with one we think deserved more attention.
When we launched Alabama NewsCenter in 2015, the goal was to tell the great story of this state we call home. You can’t tell of Alabama’s greatness without telling of its goodness, and that goodness is in its people. Photojournalist and storyteller Karim Shamsi-Basha has traveled around this state drawn to those Alabama Bright Lights. Sharing their stories causes us to marvel at their spirit and inspires us all to aspire to more.
Here are the Top 5 Alabama Bright Lights for 2016:
- Many look at today’s youths and sigh from either frustration or a lack of understanding. Greg Tinker looks at them and is inspired and motivated. Tinker teaches eighth grade at Jasper’s Maddox Middle School and his approach and commitment to students have helped his classroom shine bright.
- Usually when an Alabama Power lineman is bringing light to a home, it’s due to an around-the-clock effort to restore power after a storm. But in the case of Doug Buford, he is the light brightening up the Mulherin Home in Mobile.
- Armed with a guitar and his own rich musical legacy, Travis Wammack is proof that true charity can come with strings attached – six strings, that is. When Wammack knows of a need – be it a friend with cancer or tornado victims – he rounds up the tuneful troops to come to the rescue.
- At a time when “community” and “policing” are not always a perfect mix, Birmingham Community Service Officer Heather Campbell has demonstrated that the Golden Rule and the thin blue line can be a perfect match.
- Helen Keller’s legacy is an Alabama Bright Light all on its own. But Sue Pilkilton is making sure that Keller’s light shines on from Ivy Green, Keller’s birthplace in Tuscumbia. What started as extra credit for school when she was 14 has led to a lifetime of inspiring schoolchildren and those with disabilities with Keller’s story.
Birmingham television personality Jeh Jeh Pruitt’s younger brother was killed by a friend several years ago. But Danon Pruitt’s legacy lives on through the Dannon Project, which aims to help those released from prison find better paths so they don’t end up back in crime or back behind bars.