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For a lifetime: Manley given achievement award; Leverett top citizen

It wasn’t the 28 years of public service. It wasn’t the tenure in the Alabama Legislature. It wasn’t even the numerous boards or community programs he helped either initiate or sustain.

On Monday night, Rick Manley accepted the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to country.

“That’s why we’d like to honor Rick tonight,” said Jay Shows, president of the Chamber.

Manley’s service in the U.S. Marine Corps — especially in a year when citizens across Demopolis and the United States have garnered a greater appreciation for those who defend this country — ranked near the top of accomplishments for the local attorney.

Though patriotic service was mentioned as the most important role Manley has played for Demopolis, Shows spent more than 10 minutes listing the accomplishments of a man who is still regarded as one of the most influential legislators in the state of Alabama.

“When names of the top legislators are mentioned, his name always makes the list,” said Shows.

After graduating high school in Livingston and attending college at the University of Alabama, Manley has made Demopolis his home.

“It’s been a great 45 years,” Manley said. “And it’s because of you that this city always works together.”

If his 28 years of service as city attorney isn’t enough, Manley’s adoration for Demopolis was evident in his acceptance speech Monday evening at the Civic Center.

“From Tuscaloosa to Mobile; from Montgomery to Mississippi, we are an oasis in the desert,” he said. “We’ve all pulled together to make Demopolis what it is today.”

Manley, who replaced Woody Dinning Sr. as city attorney, said his public service in this city has taught him a great deal.

“It’s been a great experience, and I appreciate all of you,” he said.

Leverett Citizen of the Year

Kathy Leverett, who resigned as president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industrial Development Board earlier this year, was honored Monday as 2003 Citizen of the Year.

Allen Bishop, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, said Leverett’s dedication to this community — including her persistence that eventually landed Demopolis on the national scene — was too much not to bestow her the honor.

“Wow, what a wonderful place,” said a tearful Leverett, who recently moved to Tennessee to join her husband, David. “When I drove over that bridge, I thought, it’s good to be home.”

Leverett commended the citizens of Demopolis for being such an open community that welcomed her family to this city seven years ago.

“Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your community,” she said. “I feel like I owe this to you.”

Cemex named Business of the Year

John Laney, manager of the Cemex plant, accepted the Chamber’s award for Business of the Year.

One of the reasons Cemex was chosen, according to Bishop, stemmed from the involvement the company continuously shows Demopolis.

“We are able to do that because you, the community, make it so easy,” Laney said.

Editor’s Note: Because of press deadlines, see tomorrow’s edition for more on the Chamber’s volunteers of the year and the role Cemex has played in Demopolis.