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Honoring Reggie Copeland, Mobilian Of The Year

Rep. Jo Bonner

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Mobile City Council President Reggie Copeland who was recently named ``Mobilian of the Year'' by the Cottage Hill Civitan Club. I cannot think of anyone in our community who is more deserving of this high honor than Reggie.

Over 70 years ago, Reggie and his family moved to Mobile. He attended Murphy High School, Spring Hill College and the University of Alabama-Mobile Campus. During his school years, Reggie was a star athlete in football, basketball and softball. And as a young man, he developed a passion for athletics that not only taught him the value of sportsmanship, but instilled in him the very best qualities of success through teamwork.

After answering his county's call in the Korean conflict, Reggie returned stateside to embark on a long journey that would take him from the basketball courts to public office. After serving as a nationally recognized collegiate basketball official for 25 years and taking the role of executive with Alabama Power Company for an equal amount of time, Reggie found even greater challenges in leading the City of Mobile.

In 1985, he was elected to the Mobile City Council and has been re-elected six times. Currently, Reggie is in his second term as President of the City Council.

Among his long and storied history of community involvement, Reggie is credited with helping establish Mobile's Junior Miss Program, known today as the Distinguished Young Woman of America, and also helped bring the Magnolia Grove Golf Course, of the world-renowned RSA/Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, to town.

He also led the construction, and later expansion, of the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center, which bears his name, and is generally considered one of the finest public municipal tennis complexes anywhere in the country.

Councilman Copeland also played a major role in helping reestablish minor league baseball in our city with the construction of Hank Aaron Stadium, home of the Mobile BayBears.

Reggie's considerable accomplishments and recognitions include former President, Mobile Jaycees; former Vice President of Alabama Jaycees; President of the TB Health Association of Mobile County; Chairman of the Mobile County Red Cross Blood Drive; Chairman, United Way Commercial Division; President of the Southeastern Conference Basketball Officials Association; President of the Port City Basketball Officials Association of Mobile; Member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Board; Inducted into the Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame, Mobile; Inducted into the Spring Hill College Hall of Fame; Chairman of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament, 1995 97; Chairman of the Little Sisters of the Poor Golf Tournament, 1995 2000; Inducted into the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame, 1999; and member of the Board of Directors-Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.

Reggie also assisted with the Mobile Mystics Hockey franchise and is currently working to develop a world-class soccer complex in Mobile. He also played a major role in development of the Riverfront Park and the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center.

In short, it is safe to say that there are few individuals in Mobile's rich history, which has spanned more than three centuries, who have been a more positive force for change than Mobilian of the Year Reggie Copeland.

Although Reggie recently announced his intention to retire from elected office at the end of his present term, I know him far too well to believe that he is going to slow down for even a minute. Reggie Copeland is Mobile's own version of the Energizer Bunny, and our community, our region and our entire state are better places because of his tireless efforts and unselfish example.

Mr. Speaker, I know I speak for all Mobilians in expressing our gratitude for Reggie's enormous dedication to making Mobile second to none. We all wish him and his fine family, including his five children and 13 grandchildren, all the best. Congratulations on this well-deserved honor.