Sumter County soldier keeps his elected commitment

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 13, 2004

Sumter County School Board member Dana Thomas does more than serve the children of Sumter County. He also serves our country as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve.

Thomas was elected to the school board in 2002. Four months after being elected, Thomas was called to active duty and sent to South Carolina. Shortly there after, his unit was deployed to Kuwait. After five months there, Thomas was able to come to the states for three-month intervals. But his time back in the states was cut short when he was called back up last winter for another tour in Kuwait and one in Iraq. He has been back since June, hopefully for good.

Thomas was born and raised in Sumter County and graduated from Sumter County High School in 1988. He played on the varsity football team as a running back and was named MVP during his senior year. He went to Alabama A&M where he received a BS, a Masters and his EDS in education.

It is because he was raised in Sumter County that Thomas feels so strongly about the school system. He still sees the same problems that have existed since he was in school.

“Sumter County has had the opportunity to get rid of the 35 year old barrier, but no one wants to address the black/white issue,” said Thomas. He says that the school system could be the best in Alabama if the old issues were resolved.

In regards to the Tuesday night board meeting, Thomas said that it has never been that bad.

“I have never witnessed a nomination that ended in a split vote,” said Thomas. “We are elected based on the respect of the people and without their respect we will never get anywhere.”

Thomas hopes to make it back to civilian life soon. When he does he will be able to better represent the York area and also resume his position as assistant principal at Choctaw County High.

The next Board of Education meeting will be on Tuesday, Nov. 16. Hopefully all items on the agenda will be addressed since the last meeting ended before anything could be accomplished.