Dedication draws large crowd

Published 12:03 am Friday, October 26, 2012



W inston Churchill once said, “First we shape our buildings, then they shape us.

“This building shaped a lot of lives,” Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson said to the more than 250 people on hand Thursday for the dedication of Andalusia’s Alatex Park.

Many of those in attendance were former Alatex employees or family members of former employees.

Eighty-seven-year-old Lamar Maddox, who worked at Alatex for 34 years, was one of the oldest

Maddox was all smiles when he was recognized as one of two 87-year-olds in attendance. Asked his best memory of the years he spent there, he got a little emotional.

“Raising three boys and sending them to school,” he said.

His wife, Katie, was with him and also is a former employee. Both agreed preserving the building was a good thing.

Rosalyn Tillis, who’s “almost 87,” was among those who served on the Alatex Committee. She was tickled to death Thursday morning.

“We’ve got three bricks,” she said, indicating the brick walkway which features memorials and tributes to former employees.

Tillis spent 41 years working for Alatex as a secretary in quality control and in personnel. Her husband, Carey, was manager of the company’s credit union for 13 years, and her daughter, Elaine Wiley, worked for the company for 10 years.

“I’m thankful for every day we made our living there,” she said.

Former company president Fred Rhinehardt was the special guest speaker.

“It always amazed me what (company founder John G. Scherf) did,” he said.

The company Scherf founded became the second largest shirt manufacturer in the country.

Although the company continued long after Scherf’s death, Rhinehardt said the legacy of duty to community Scherf instilled continued with Alatex until the end with leadership roles in the community and its civic organizations.

The wall on the property is designed to feature a mural depicting the process of making a man’s dress shirt beginning with the cotton field. Johnson said that portion f the project will be completed as more memorial bricks are sold.