Four people inducted into the Alley of Honor | New
FLORENCE – The Marriott Shoals Conference Center recently hosted the annual Walk of Honor 2019 inductees ceremony. The ceremony recognized individuals from Florence and Lauderdale County who have achieved national or international acclaim. The Walk of Honor is located in the beautiful River Heritage Park, next to the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.
It is a way of honoring and perpetuating the name and achievements of deserving individuals, whether current or former citizens, through a form of civic recognition.
Areas of national or international achievement include, but are not limited to, the following: agriculture, art, athletics, business, education, government, humanities, literature, medicine, military, music, public service, religion, science and technology. The program was postponed from last year due to the pandemic.
The 2019 inductees and their accomplishments are as follows:
ROBERT E. “BOB” BRUNINGA
(Plate reads) Robert Bruninga’s invention of the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) for amateur radio in 1993 has been adopted around the world. He was inducted into the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame in 2002 and received the Navy Meritorious Civilian Award in 2014.
Bruninga’s family moved to Florence when he was one year old. He was an Eagle scout and graduated from Coffee High School in 1966. Bruninga’s twenty-year career in the US Navy began in 1970 when he was commissioned by Georgia Tech ROTC and then worked as an engineer in principal research at the US Naval Academy Satellite Lab.
During his career, Robert Bruninga wrote the first radio access bulletin board system for hobbyists with the introduction of personal computers, developed the 200 Hz shift modem standard and high frequency data communications. , developed an emergency traffic system for personal computers, invented the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) for amateur radio, and founded the USNA Small Satellite program. As part of this program, he developed the highly successful Space Systems Laboratory course and mentored hundreds of aspirants in research and design projects that resulted in several successful launches of satellites built by students in orbit. . At the peak of his career awards, he received the Meritorious Civil Service Award from the Department of the Navy in 2014.
REAR-ADMIRAL MARIE-ALICE ROOM
(The plaque reads) A distinguished United States Navy officer, RADM Mary Alice Hall became, in 1991, the first naval nurse since World War II to receive the Distinguished Service Medal and, in 1993, the first female nurse soldier to command a military hospital.
Hall had a distinguished career as an officer in the United States Navy. She faced enormous obstacles to advancement and leadership at a time when senior military leadership positions were extremely limited for women. Yet RADM Hall persevered. She became a pioneer in breaking down traditional barriers, which paved the way for women in the military to secure leadership roles and command posts that continue to this day. His accomplishments through thick and thin are unmatched in the annals of the US military.
Among many accolades, RADM Hall became the first nursing nurse to command a military hospital when she was posted as commander of the US Naval Hospital at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Continuing her pioneering career, she later became the first Navy nurse to command a Fleet Hospital when she took a Fleet Hospital to the wilderness and got it up and running within 72 hours. , all under constant precipitation. She later received the Distinguished Service Medal, becoming the first Navy nurse to receive the medal since World War II.
JESSE CLOPTON JAMES
(Plate reads) As an accomplished scientist, Jesse C. James carried out groundbreaking studies of Venus, Mars, and the Sun; and he ran the Harvard Astronomy Station in Texas. He obtained 12 patents and wrote 22 articles in scientific journals.
James was born in Florence and raised in the community of Sweetwater in East Florence. He graduated from Coffee High in 1941 and served in the Army Air Corps until serious illness demanded honorable release. James then attended Auburn University, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and engineering physics. James went on to earn a master’s degree in nuclear physics from Rice University and a doctorate in electrical engineering and physics from Georgia Tech. During these years he worked for the Southern Research Institute in many areas of analysis, design and experimental fieldwork, as well as for the United States Navy and Army. MIT hired Dr. James to join a research group working on a groundbreaking study of Venus, Mars, and the Sun. In the 1960s, he was the first to discover liquid water under the surface of Mars using radio waves.
MIT moved the James family to Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands in 1970, where Dr. James helped develop the government’s anti-ballistic missile system. After these years, he ran the Harvard Radio Astronomy Station near Fort Davis, Texas, wrote numerous chapters for technical books, and is the author of twenty-two scientific journal articles. Dr. James holds twelve patents and another invention involving a stealth technique for airplanes and missiles which cannot be patented due to the security classification. At 92, he authored and published The Bible: Two Proofs and Two Mis-Translations, in which he championed his firm belief that the Bible and science go hand in hand.
REEDER GLENN NICHOLS
(The plaque reads) As a radio engineer for the 1934 British-Australian aircraft race, Reeder Nichols then commanded the US Air Force’s radio group for Australia and the South- western Pacific. A mountain in Australia is named in his honor.
Nichols was born in Florence in 1904 and lived with his family in eastern Florence during his early years of study. After his parents divorced, Reeder dropped out of school and headed north to work for Sears and Roebuck. Later, he joined the US Marine Corps where he learned aviation and communications, sciences which were still quite young at the time. After a near-death experience in a tragic plane crash, Reeder was released from the Marines and became an accomplished aircraft radio engineer with Pan-American Airways, Inc. and Rio Buenos Aires Airways.
In October 1934, Reeder Nichols served as a radio engineer for pilots Roscoe Turner and Clyde Pangborn in the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race from London, England to Melbourne, Australia. Crossing nineteen countries and seven seas, Lloyd’s of London gave participants a 1:12 chance of being killed. Nichols custom designed and built the radio equipment installed on Turner’s aircraft. They completed their flight, winning numerous accolades, awards and celebrity status.
Nichols entered World War II as a colonel and served at Allied Operations Headquarters in Australia as Chief of Army Airways communications systems. He installed radios and emergency beacons in Australia as part of the training of American pilots. Nichols ended the war as a brigadier-general.
After the war, General Nichols settled permanently in Australia and was actively involved in setting up microwave systems for mining companies in Western Australia. This earned him national fame and the name of a mountain in his honor.
These four Inductees join the forty-six people selected in previous years. A bronze plaque with a photo of each inductee, as well as a brief inscription of their accomplishments, was placed on the Walk of Honor monuments in the park. The public is invited to visit the site. More detailed information on these individuals is available in the Local History and Genealogy Department of the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library.