Kelsoe inducted into Opp Hall of Fame

Published 11:59 pm Friday, May 8, 2009

The city of Opp honored several of its standout citizens Thursday evening at the Opp Chamber of Commerce’s annual membership banquet and Hall of Fame induction.

The banquet, which was held at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, had the theme of “Opp-ortunity,” a theme that was espoused by Hall of Fame inductee James Kelsoe Sr.

“Opportunity begins with ‘Opp,’ but so does opposition,” Kelsoe said. “It’s only when you add ‘unity’ that you get ‘opportunity.’”

Kelsoe was introduced by his sons, James Jr. and John, before joining Opp’s 53-member Hall of Fame. Kelsoe currently serves as executive director of the Opp Chamber of Commerce and is a charter member of the Civitan Club.

He also has participated in numerous civic projects and organizations, including the Bobcat Booster Club, the Mizell Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Opp City School Foundation and the Opp Rotary Club — where he was a recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow Award.

“Dad always knew where he was going and had a purpose,” John Kelsoe said. “He didn’t have to wait for someone else to start a project.”

Dr. Ralph Thomas, a member of the Opp High School Class of 1953 along with Kelsoe, gave a speech as “One of Opp’s Very Own.” Dr. Charles Tomberlin, another Class of 1953 alumnus, introduced Thomas.

Several noted citizens were honored for their contributions to Opp during the past year. They were as follows:

Farm Family of the Year — Allen Weeks and family.

Teacher of the Year — Kenya Martin, guidance counselor at South Highlands Elementary School.

Community Service Awards — Jan Breedlove, for creating an ornament that was including in the White House’s Christmas tree; Jim and Juanita Blocker, for the Lake Frank Jackson Trail Masters; Mallory Mims, 2009 Covington County Junior Miss; Bart Boothe, for the Oppry Theatre; Allen Foster and Dr. Wheeler Gunnels, for the Mizell Wellness Center; and Charles Willis, for the “Spirit of Opportunity” award.