Morgan leaders honored at annual banquet

Special to the Enquirer  

The 9th annual Morgan County Leadership Hall of Fame induction banquet and ceremony took place on March 21 at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in Decatur hosted by the Morgan County Schools Foundation. 

The 2024 class of inductees included A. Q. Oldacre, Trudy Grisham and Michael “Soy” Taylor (posthumous.)

A.Q. Oldacre

Oldacre embarked on his career in air and missile defense systems in 1963, with roles spanning various responsibilities including branch chief and assistant project manager for international programs. Notably, he served as Deputy Project Manager for the PATRIOT Project Office, overseeing the US Army’s significant missile program. His contributions included negotiating major contracts and guiding the program through Desert Storm. Oldacre also played a pivotal role in international collaborations, such as MEADS, earning accolades for his service from various countries. Additionally, he holds the Secretary of Defense’s David S. Packard Award for Acquisition Excellence and is a registered professional engineer. 

Trudy Grisham 

Grisham played a pivotal role in Decatur’s community development since the early 1980s. She co-founded the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation, raising substantial funds for initiatives like the first cancer center in Morgan County. Her leadership extended to various organizations, including serving as the first female chairperson of the Decatur Morgan County Chamber of Commerce and being the first female member of the Decatur Kiwanis Club. Grisham’s extensive involvement earned her numerous awards, including Humanitarian of the Year in 2023. Even after retiring in 2016, she continued her community service as a volunteer. 

Michael “Soy” Taylor  

Taylor was deeply committed to spreading the Gospel internationally, starting with his ministry in Grand Bay, Ala. In 2017, he and his wife established Shining Light Abroad Ministries (SLAM) in Guatemala, where they served in various capacities including founding Colegio J.E.T. and aiding GRACE Ministries. Taylor was particularly passionate about providing housing to families in remote areas, facilitating mission teams from Morgan County, to assist in Guatemala. Tragically, he was fatally shot during an attempted robbery at his home in Guatemala on October 2, 2023, leaving behind his wife, Diedra, and three children. 

The Corporate Leader of the Year was Alabama Credit Union, and the Community Leader of the Year was awarded to Clothe Our Kids of North Alabama.  

The 2024 MCSF Leadership Scholarships recipients included:  

$2,500 – Cedric DeLane Beavers, Falkville High 

$2,500 – Reagan Maples, West Morgan High 

$2,500 – Braxton Voss, Priceville High 

$1,500 – Gracie Jolee Echols, Brewer High 

$1,250– Anna Leigh Pilkington, Priceville High  

$1,250 – Blake Thomas Suggs, West Morgan High  

Gracie Echols also received the 2024 Bill W. Hopkins Jr. Future Educator Scholarship for $1,000. 

The Leadership Hall of Fame was founded by the Morgan County Schools Foundation to promote a culture of leadership and character-building within the community and schools. The Morgan County Schools Foundation was created in 2011 as an autonomous non-profit entity to promote leadership and academic excellence in Morgan County Schools. 

 

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