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2014 Alumnus of the Year – Vernon Johnson

Mr. Vernon Johnson is the CEO of Dale Medical Center in Ozark, Alabama. Vernon graduated high school in 1979, took the summer off and started college in the fall. He graduated from Wallace Community College (WCC) in 1982. While in school, he was voted Most Outstanding Respiratory Therapist Assistant Student, he served as the SGA representative for school functions, and was selected as student advisor for the program. Since graduation, Vernon has served on the Nursing Program Advisory Board and the Respiratory Therapist Assistant Program Advisory Board for WCC. He has also spoken on several occasions at the Nursing and Respiratory Therapist graduations.

Vernon began his career at the Dale Medical Center in August of 1994 as a respiratory therapist and served for six years as assistant administrator prior to becoming CEO in January 2003.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from Troy State University Dothan and a Masters degree in Health Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. As CEO of Dale Medical Center, Vernon has coordinated hospital participation in the Wallace Community College Foundation’s Capital Campaign and continues to coordinate support and provide Dale Medical Center as a clinical site for Wallace Health Science students.

Vernon serves on the Board of the Boys and Girls Club of Ozark, the Wiregrass United Way Board, and has been appointed by the Governor for a second term to the Alabama Respiratory Therapy Licensure Board. He also serves on the Alabama Hospital Association Rural Constituency Committee, the Alabama Hospital Association Education Committee, Alabama Hospital Image Task Force, Alabama Hospital Legislative Committee and the Statewide Trauma Advisory Board. Vernon has served as past president of the Ozark Chamber of Commerce, Relay for Life Chairman, and Dale County United Way Chairman.

2013 Alumnus of the Year – Rob Rhoades

Mr. Robert (Rob) Rhoades is the President of Diamond-R-Electric Company in Enterprise, Alabama.  Rob graduated from Wallace Community College (WCC) with an Electrical Technology degree.  He serves on the WCC Electrical Technology Advisory Committee, donates equipment and time to the Electrical Technology program, and hires graduates from this program to work with his company.

“When I started the company in 2006, I started it with a few simple principles. I wanted to do high-quality work and do what we say when we said it would be done and for the price we quoted.” Sticking to these simple concepts has allowed Diamond-R-Electric to not only remain stable during uncertain economic times, but to grow every year since the company began. “I believe that the simple principles that we were founded on have been the cornerstone of our growth,” said Rhoades.

 Rob also attributed much of his success to the Electrical Technology Program at Wallace Community College. “It was through my relationship with Mr. Michael Vann, Mr. Jess Greene and other Wallace faculty that I was able to gain the foundational concepts that got me started.” Rhoades said. “I sometimes think back to the day that I started classes at Wallace and wonder what life would look like today if I had decided not to attend. I can assure you, the last five years would have looked radically different. Thankfully, I made the right decision.”

2012 Alumnus of the Year – O. Lewis Humphrey

Lew Humphrey is an excellent example of what the WCC Alumnus of the Year Award represents. Lew was an active student at WCC and a member of the first graduating class at Wallace Community College in 1967. He gained more than a quality education at WCC—he found his life’s partner and wife, Carol, studying one day in the library. Carol was also a member of that first graduating class.  

Following graduation from WCC, Lew completed his BA at LaGrange College in 1968 and then joined the U.S. Marine Corps. He served during the Vietnam War as an officer and as a naval aviator. He has an impeccable military service record and had top secret security clearance. While serving in the military, he developed and managed a drug and alcohol counseling center in Iwakuni, Japan. The center still exists today.

Following his military career, Lew began a career with Proctor and Gamble as a sales representative and eventually moved into the area of financial services. From 1987-2005, he worked with Textron Financial Corporation and retired as Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer in 2005. 

Lew has also been active in numerous civic and philanthropic organizations over the years. He volunteers at the National Naval Aviation Museum, and he serves as a docent.  

After retiring, Lew and Carol moved to Pensacola, and Lew joined the WCC Foundation in 2008. He has given much personal time and energy in serving on the Board. Since joining the Board, he has been an invaluable member and an incredible asset to the Board. Lew has served as both audit chair and finance chair for the Board. He has overseen the annual audits, and he has been the main point of contact for the Foundation’s financial manager. He oversaw the Board’s donor review, and his leadership and expertise guide the Board’s portfolio management.

Lew has chosen to give back to the College beyond his time and energy. He and his wife established the Omar Lewis and Carol Baker Humphrey Nursing Scholarship to bridge the gap in unmet needs for WCC nursing students. The scholarship is for a full year, and it is renewable.

As a WCC alumnus, Lew has honored Wallace Community College with his distinguished service to the military, his executive position at Textron, his volunteer service to the Foundation Board, and his generosity in establishing a scholarship to assist current and future WCC nursing students. Lew has lived an exemplary life, and his dedication to the College is obvious through his service to the Board and through his spirit of giving.