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2024 Game Changers

April 2024: Scotty Kelsoe and Matthew McMillan

Scotty Kelsoe and Matthew McMillan have discovered the profound rewards of giving back while simultaneously improving their community. Their initiative, Morgan County Mobility Missions, launched just last year, has already made a significant impact. With their dedicated efforts, they've constructed over 20 ramps for households with people who rely on wheelchairs for mobility. Despite operating solely on donations, Scotty and Matthew have identified a critical need for their services.

March 2024: Danny Kelso

As a Lieutenant at the Morgan County Sheriff's Office Jail Division, Danny Kelso not only fulfills his duties at work but is deeply committed to his lifelong home of Morgan County. He tirelessly volunteers for various organizations that provide essential medical services to children in need and provide life-saving assistance to individuals in distress in the waters of Morgan County. Serving as the Chief of the Morgan County Rescue Squad, Danny cherishes the camaraderie of his fellow volunteers and their shared mission. Through the work of the nonprofit, Kelso and the volunteers have been able to save dozens of lives. His friends say "It doesn't matter who you are or where you came from, Danny Kelso loves you".

February 2024: Ashley Boyd

Ashley Boyd's journey with the Committee on Church Cooperation (CCC) had a challenging start, stepping into an organization grappling with financial difficulties. However, her leadership as executive director over the past four years has been transformative. Despite the initial hurdles, the CCC continues to provide vital support to thousands of families annually, offering essential resources like food, clothing, access to medical care and more. Boyd aspires for the CCC to evolve into a comprehensive community resource. "My goal for the CCC is to become what the community needs us to be," said Boyd.

January 2024: Diane Nelms

Diane Nelms' journey comes full circle, as the very nonprofit she now supports, once helped her as a mother unable to provide Christmas gifts for her children. While she works part-time during the nonprofit's busiest season in December, the rest of the year is spent volunteering at the Salvation Army and Community Action Partnership. Driven by a deep passion for community service, she sums it up saying, "I stay busy. My grandma told me if you stay busy, you'll never get old."

July 2024

2023 Game Changers

December 2023: Jeff Sharp

Jeff Sharp, the Director of Everyday Sunshine, is on a mission to foster inclusivity for those with disabilities. Since 2012, Sharp has been orchestrating concerts, shows, and establishing a thrift store that not only serves the community but provides employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. His passion doesn't stop there -- Sharp is currently spearheading the creation of an all-inclusive park, right beside the thrift store. His daughter, who was born with a rare brain disorder, fuels his determination to create a world that embraces everyone.

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

Since 2016, Brandi Breeden has made it her task to clothe kids in need. Breeden said she had a burden to do more for the community, so she started Clothe our Kids in her garage. She began accepting donations to provide students with jeans, shirts, underwear, shoes, and more. A few years into the program, Breeden teamed up with First Priority to serve more kids. Little did they know how big the need was. "One of our biggest priorities is to make sure the bag is completely full of what we say its going to have and we want them to have good quality clothes," said Breeden. Just this past year alone, she and her volunteers have provided more than 1,500 students with clothes.

August 2023: Courtney Schellack

Courtney Schellack originally planned to have a career in Computer Forensics, now she's the Assistant District Attorney in Morgan County. While the office handles all sorts of cases, Schellack has been focusing on child sexual abuse cases. "Victims didn't ask to be put in this position. Our office and the agencies we work with...I just want to make sure we're all doing our part in serving the community," says Schellack. She and her team are working on creating a mock trial for children and their families -- providing kids an inside look into criminal court proceedings, helping build their comfort levels.

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

Forrest Keith, at Dakin America, believes that everyone should give back because we're all one circumstance from needing help. Keith lives by these words everyday. He has been instrumental supporting United Way for decades as well as many other nonprofits in our community.

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

Mary Jane Mitchell, from 3M, is someone you always want on your team. She's loyal, dedicated and has a servant's heart. We're proud to honor her as this month's #GameChanger.

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.

Watch the video, and get to know these amazing #GameChangers!

* CSNA is a United Way Partner Agency. When you invest in United Way of Morgan County, your gift ensures domestic violence victims receive high quality, trauma-informed, comprehensive services.

#LiveUnited #uwmcal #DVAM2022

September 2022: - Day of Caring Volunteers

September's #GameChangers are...
Day of Caring volunteers!

Watch the video and find out for yourself why these volunteers are true community Game Changers!

We partnered with Volunteer Center of Morgan County to host the annual #DayOfCaring event. Hundreds of volunteers from local companies, church groups, civic organizations and schools tackled much-needed projects in our community.

It was hard work, but our community is stronger thanks to each and every person who dedicated their time and energy to serve.

Thank you, Volunteers!

August 2022: Tammy Gaull-Gatza

From educating local children about the importance of recycling, to leading Indorama Ventures PCL's Partners in Education program to her continued support of United Way's Day of Caring, Tammy is committed to supporting the community.

Watch the video, and see why Tammy is this month's #GameChanger!

July 2022: Helen DeButy

For more than a decade, Helen DeButy has been a loyal volunteer at Decatur Animal Services.

She's contributed countless ideas that have improved not only the shelter, but also the quality of lives of animals.

Watch the video and see why Helen is a true #gamechanger!

June 2022: Kevin Clark

If you've ever shopped at Publix Super Market at Decatur Commons, then you may have met Kevin Clark in the checkout aisle. His daily motto is, "Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours." He chooses to have a positive attitude no matter the circumstance.

After meeting Kevin, it's hard not to feel motivated and inspired. This is why he is this month's #GameChanger!

May 2022: Jezebel

Jezebel is a trained facility dog and four-legged staff member at the Morgan County Child Advocacy Center. She has the important job of accompanying children during forensic interviews, therapy sessions and court proceedings.

Watch the video, and learn more about all the amazing things she does for the most vulnerable children in our community.

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

Frances Tate is February's Game Changer!

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

With a big heart and open hands, Pastor Emilio Sanchez has dedicated his life to serving others. He shows compassion and offers guidance to people from all walks of life. There's no question as to why Pastor Sanchez is the November 2021 Game Changer!

October 2021: Lt. Eric Fields

The October 2021 Game Changer is Lt. Eric Fields, an officer with the Morgan County Sheriff's Office. He’s using his surprise viral fame to bring awareness of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Thank you for being a true Game Changer, Lt. Fields!

September 2021: Ellen Didier

Ellen Didier, President of Red Sage Communications, is the epitome of a Game Changer. She continues to make a lasting impact on this community. Watch the video, and see for yourself how she is a true difference maker in Morgan County.

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

John Seymour has been an integral part of this community since 1991.
As President and CEO of the Decatur-Morgan Chamber of Commerce, John has helped to spear-head important advancements including the redevelopment of Decatur's riverfront and downtown area.
He is committed to bringing people from all walks of life together to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
His passion for this community and his commitment is unparalleled.
John Seymour is a Game Changer in every since of the word, and we are honored to be able to recognize him and his efforts!

May 2021: Betty Burnett

"She's always willing to go above and beyond, even in the face of personal tragedy."
-Brad Romine, CEO of Centers for the Developmentally Disabled (CDD).
Betty Burnett, CRNP and Director of Health Services at CDD, is a beloved member of the CDD community. She ensures that the clients receive the highest level of care. She is also a special friend to all of her clients! In the midst of being a health care worker in a pandemic, Betty and her husband contracted COVID-19. Unfortunately, Mr. Johnny Burnett passed away from this illness in November of 2020. With the passing of her husband, Betty perseveres and pours love into her clients. She describes her work as therapeutic, saying that making a difference in her clients' lives helps to heal her hurt. It is evident that Betty Burnett is a Game Changer in the lives of her clients and her CDD family.

April 2021: Sue Terrell

"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."  -Albert Einstein
Sue Terrell refuses to look on and do nothing. Sue began her work with the homeless in 2012 when she started an outreach called Hands Across Decatur. She tirelessly works to make those who come to her feel like friends and family. Growing from a room in her home to a 5,600 square foot facility, Hands Across Decatur could not make such an impact within the homeless community without the support of the community. Sue Terrell gives a voice to the voiceless by letting them know that they are seen and cared for. She is a Game Changer.

March 2021: Bruce Jones

Supporting the youth of today is an investment into the community of tomorrow. No one knows this to be true more than Bruce JonesBruce served as the Director of Decatur Youth Services (DYS) for 26 years; and in that time, impacted the lives of approximately 39,000 at-risk children and teens. Growing the program from 1994-2020, Bruce has shaped DYS to be a tool to help assist children in developing self-esteem by promoting a “Yes, I can” attitude and establishing a sense of self-worth by teaching children to excel on their own. Bruce Jones is a champion for the children, and there is no one more deserving of the Game Changer Award this month.

February 2021: Barrels of Love Founders

One of the great things about living in Morgan County is how well industries work together to create positive change. The best example of impactful industry-wide collaboration is the Barrels of Love food drive.
Instituted 8 years ago by Wendy Taylor and Forrest Keith, the Barrels of Love food drive has helped to fill food pantry shelves in the wake of holiday needs. This drive becomes more successful every year, and we cannot wait to see how this drive will grow! It is a no-brainer that the Game Changer Award, this month, would go to the individuals who created this community event. The Barrels of Love founders have created lasting change, and for this, those experiencing hunger in Morgan County are grateful.

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.

Ms. Margaret will be truly missed, and we are so happy to be able to remember her as our first-ever Game Changer Award recipient.