Powell takes time for others
By BY LYDIA GRIMES – Features Writer
Adam Powell is a very busy man around Christmas. He, along with other members of the Sportsman Club, have been getting ready for the holidays by trying to bring some cheer to children who otherwise might not have a merry Christmas.
The Sportsman Club has been in business for almost 40 years and for the past 20 years they have been trying to help children have a better Christmas. Adam C. Powell is the president of the club and his heart is really into the Christmas shopping trip that the club plans every year.
The first five years, the club members repaired old toys and spent lots of money buying parts to do repair work. They also had no way of screening the children and all of the work had to be done at night or when the members were not working. There were some concerns because if they did not work on the toys or could not work on the toys, they were "fired" from the project.
After the first five years, the club decided to raise the money and take the children shopping at K-Mart. Each Member contributed that first year and they were able to take about 40 kids shopping. Since that time, they have gone to the public with a fundraiser each year to help boost the finances. These days they average 65 to 70 children each year but they have had as many as 90. They are given a list of children that need help by the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce. That list is made up of children suggested by teachers at the area schools. They are in a position to know which children need the help of the Sportsman Club.
They accept children up to the age of 14 and they are able to buy clothing and toys. The children and parents meet at the Sportsman Park on the second Saturday of December early in the morning about 7 a.m. They are given a biscuit and juice provided by McDonald's and then they are taken to WalMart where each child is given $50 to spend. The club used to try for the first Saturday in December but it conflicted with the Christmas parade so they changed it. Now the parade had been moved to the same day but they do their shopping very early in the morning so it has all worked out. Money is given by organizations, churches, individuals and a collection is made at locations around town. The Friendly Pals Club contributed and helped at the collection places.
Powell is very proud of the work that the Sportsman Club does and he is quick to point out that he is not the only one who works on projects. He wants all of the other members to receive acknowledgement of what they do. They not only do their Christmas shopping project, but also have a senior citizens' program the day before Easter honoring them with singing and a program. The club also offers scholarships and has a summer program at the park.
Adam Powell was born and raised in Brewton. He was one of nine children born to Willie and Mattie Powell and he attended Booker T. Washington School, which is now the Brewton Middle School. He graduated in 1964 and soon moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where he worked for a while.
He went into the military and served for two years during the Vietnam era, although he never went to Vietnam. He spent most of his time at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. When his two years were up, he got a job working at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. filing cards and making pages for catalogs. He continued with this job from 1968 to 1979. He married in 1970 to his home town sweetheart, Janet, who is now a schoolteacher at W.S. Neal Middle School. They soon became parents of two children, Adam Powell Jr. and Sharanda Powell.
He worked for about five years with Mutual Savings Insurance and then went to work for the state in 1984 at Holman Prison as a correctional officer. The same year he joined the National Guard.
Little did he know that in 1990 his unit would be called for active duty to go to Saudi Arabia to support the military in Kuwait against Iraq as it was an ordnance company. He was there for about nine months, including two months spent at Ft. Rucker, Ala. before going overseas. He did get to come home long enough to see his daughter graduate from high school, but he had to go back.
When the National Guard unit came back home, the ordnance unit was broken up and members had to either go into the artillery or military police. He chose the MPs and earlier this year his group spent their two weeks of training at Salt Lake City working on security for the Olympics. Most of the unit was home by the time the Olympics started but a few chose to stay on.
He works at Holman Prison in Atmore as a correction officer. He spends his work hours guarding inmates, most of the time the general population but sometimes those who are waiting for execution. Alabama is one of the last to have the electric chair although there is the choice now of lethal injection.
The Powells have two children, Adam Jr. and Sharanda. Both are grown now and the daughter has followed in her mother's footsteps and become a schoolteacher in Georgia.
Powell likes sports, board games and reading, mostly non-fiction. He is the president of The Sportsman Club, secretary of Progressive Lodge #943, member of Eastern Star, Lilly Chapter #592, Rosa Parks Court #11, Heroines of Jericho and a trustee of Great Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
Powell likes to write and says he is a pretty good cook.