2023 Game Changers
November 2023: Jessica Burch
Today, Jessica Burch is dedicated to making a positive impact in the community and she owes it all to her former job, the Centers for Developmentally Disabled (CDD). Her role as the office manager and realtor at MeritHouse Realty & Capital Management keeps her busy, but she also actively volunteers and serves on several boards, including the Morgan County Child Advocacy Center, the Downtown Decatur Merchant and Business Association, the Morgan County Association of REALTORS, and the CDD. One friend noted, "Ms. Burch is passionate about serving the community, as well as supporting and being a voice for the most vulnerable members of our community."
October 2023: John Jackson
It's not about providing a piece of furniture for John Jackson, the Hartselle Chapter President of Sleep Heavenly Peace. He explains that the nonprofit's focus is about providing a tangible item to children who may not have a bed they can claim as their own. Since 2018, he and a team of volunteers have delivered almost 1,500 handmade, wooden beds in the community. They service kids ages 3 to 17, living in and around Morgan County. Jackson said, "One of our guys, Beau Goss, he was with us one day, [when] we put a bed in a home. The guys, the little boys, they helped us. They wanted us to stay for dinner. They didn't want us to leave. Well then, a few weeks later, [Goss] was at his daughter's school, and this little boy just came up, just gave him a big hug. [Goss] didn't realize who he was until he kind of separated and looked at him. It was one of those brothers from that home and that kid recognized him. Beau was like 'you know you're making a difference, [because] it took me a minute, but they knew who I was right then.'"
September 2023: Brandi Breeden
August 2023: Courtney Schellack
March 2023: Jim Arndt
Jim Arndt, RPh. has been volunteering as a licensed pharmacist at the Community Free Clinic for more than 19 years! Thanks to his dedication he has impacted countless lives here in Morgan County.
February 2023: Shericka Ricks
Shericka Ricks is the Teen Director at the 3rd Street Boys and Girls Club in Decatur. She has a passion for empowering teenagers to set goals and to achieve them. Ricks sees every child's potential and isn't afraid to push them to overcome obstacles.
January 2023: Forrest Keith
2022 Game Changers
December 2022: Lynn Fowler
As we close out the year, there is no better person to recognize as a Game Changer than Lynn Fowler! He foes not say no to projects and initiatives that better our community. Throughout his life, Fowler has worked tirelessly to seize opportunities that make a difference.
November 2022: Mary Jane Mitchell
Check out the video, and see for yourself how the community is better because of Mary Jane.
October 2022: Maria Sanchez, SyRhonda Smith and Sharita Jenkins
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and we'd like to give a huge shout out to our partners at Crisis Services of North Alabama. Maria Sanchez, SyRhonda Smith and Sharita Jenkins are three team members at CSNA, who dedicate their careers to advocate and provide services to families and individuals who are victims of domestic violence.
September 2022: - Day of Caring Volunteers
August 2022: Tammy Gaull-Gatza
July 2022: Helen DeButy
She's contributed countless ideas that have improved not only the shelter, but also the quality of lives of animals.
June 2022: Kevin Clark
May 2022: Jezebel
April 2022: George Mills
George Mills was a true America hero, and we are proud to honor him as April's Game Changer.
March 2022: Betty Sims
If you know Betty Sims, you'll understand why she was selected as a Game Changer!
She has truly moved the needle in our community.
February 2022: Frances Tate
Watch the video, and find out how she preserves local history through art.
January 2022: Morgan Brannon
When Morgan Brannon saw a problem in the world, she took action and created change for the better. She is the true definition of a Game Changer.
Watch the video, and find out how this local Girl Scout (and now Auburn student) created a small business that continues to provide educational support to girls in the Congo.
2021 Game Changers
December 2021: Jerry Shumake
For 47 years, Jerry Shumake (aka The Candy Man) has been bringing joy to local children. His giving nature and compassionate heart continue to inspire others. He is a true Game Changer, and this community is better because of him.
November 2021: Pastor Emilio Sanchez
October 2021: Lt. Eric Fields
September 2021: Ellen Didier
August 2021: Amanda Godsey, Olivia Gillette and Sloan Sittason
Amanda Godsey, and her two daughters, Olivia Gillette and Sloan Sittason, use their time, talent and treasure every day to impact the youth of our community.
These three Hartselle City Schools educators are everyday heroes, and we're proud to honor them as Game Changers in Morgan County.
July 2021: Etta Freeman
Ms. Etta Freeman is the very definition of a Game Changer.
Celebrating her 104th birthday in July 2021, she is wealth of knowledge and wisdom wrapped in a fiery package. Her enthusiasm for life is infectious.
She has a heart for helping people. She begins her days with a smile and one thing on her mind, "Who can I help today?" As an educator, Ms. Freeman took care of her students, and nurtured them as her own. She would sew clothes for those who had none, and made sure that her students had what they needed to learn.
We are proud to honor Ms. Etta Freeman as a Game Changer in this community.
June 2021: John Seymour
May 2021: Betty Burnett
April 2021: Sue Terrell
March 2021: Bruce Jones
February 2021: Barrels of Love Founders
January 2021: Margaret MacIlveen
The Game Changer Award is designed to honor hometown heroes who are tirelessly working to make Morgan County a better place, largely without recognition. Margaret MacIlveen was one such hero. Margaret MacIlveen was a Game Changer in the lives of so many foster children and foster families throughout Morgan County. Her passion was legendary and her kindness unrivaled.