He is looking out for all of us
By BY LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
Alan Caudle has a very important job in the Escambia County area. He keeps watch on those who are on probation or parole after getting in trouble with the law. It's not really what he set out to do in life but it has been his lifes work for quite a number of years.
He is an officer with the Alabama Board of Probation and Paroles working in Escambia County. His job is to supervise those who are paroled or placed on probation and that is no small task. Right now, with the cutback in state spending, the case load has increased dramatically for him, and for Tim Cook, another officer in the the department.
Caudle and Cook keep a check on all of them in various ways and report to the courts and parole board.
He was "born in a tar paper shack" in Brilliant, a small town in Marion County. His father was a coal miner and he was the ninth child of 11. There was always a struggle for his father to provide for the family and therefore he worked at various jobs and moved quite a bit.
At the age of two the family moved to Fayette where his father worked as a mechanic. They lived there for the next six years and Caudle started school there. In 1958 they moved to Winfield and his father went back to the coal mines for a couple of years. A couple of years later they moved to Birmingham and his father once again worked as a mechanic.
The family moved back to Brilliant in 1965, mostly because of what was happening in Birmingham. They wanted a safer and quieter place to live. Caudle graduated from Brilliant High School in 1968 in a class of 20 and then went to Northwest Alabama State Junior College (now called Northwest Shoals Community College). He thought he wanted to be a school teacher and transferred to Livingston (University of West Alabama). At the same time he was working at any and many various jobs trying to support him and get him through college.
While going to school at Livingston he met his wife, Ellen, and they were married in 1973. By this time he had decided to change his career goal. He graduated with a degree in sociology and history and went looking for a job. He had taken a test while still at school and scored well, but nothing was available to him right away. He and his wife moved to Tuscaloosa hoping to get a job. The only job he got right away was pumping gas while his wife went to work for the Alumni Association office. Later he was hired by the police department and worked as a police officer for about 18 months.
In 1975 he got his chance to work for the Alabama Parole Board and in 1978 he was transferred to Brewton. By that time he and his wife had a son, Wade, and the family wanted to relocate so that Wade could grow up in a smaller community.
During these years, he and his wife had another son, Byron. He is now a senior at T.R. Miller High School. The older son, Wade, is the band director at Flomaton High School. He is married and he and his wife, Amy, have a daughter, Abigail.
Both sons were very active in Boy Scouts and therefore Caudle took an interest in the Scouting program. In 1981, while Wade was in the Cub Scouts, he became a Scout leader and later a Scout Master. His plans are uncertain about after his son, Byron, graduates from high school.
Byron has been working on making Eagle Scout. In order to do so, he has to earn 21 merit badges and do a service project. Recently he did his service project by replacing the flag pole at T.R. Miller High School. The new pole is much taller than the old, but the old pole will find a new home at the Cola Parker Girl Scout Hut on St. Nicholas Avenue. The taller pole now flies a new bigger flag and a bricked square has been added commemorating the servicemen who have and do serve their country. It was a big project and a ceremony was held Friday, Jan. 30, with Caudle, his son, Byron and other spectators surrounding the new pole.
When Caudle is not working or participating in Boy Scout projects, he likes to build things and do woodwork, or as he says, "lie on the beach."