Montevallo welcomes NASA official

Last year, during Montevallo’s 2010 Homecoming Celebration, a new tradition was born: the Annual Mayor’s Breakfast Honoring Hometown Heroes.  The purpose of the event is to recognize Montevallo residents who have made a unique contribution to our city, county, state, nation or world.

Last year’s Hometown Hero recipients included Augusta Lovelady, Jim Edwards, Robert Lightfoot Jr. and Tom Walker. This year’s recipients include Lt. Charles DeVinner (state trooper), J.A. Brown (businessman and civic leader), Bill Reid (Montevallo fire chief and retired teacher) and Colonel Walter Adkins (author and veteran).

This year, we are pleased to announce that our guest speaker will be one of last year’s recipients – Robert Lightfoot Jr.

Lightfoot, a native of Montevallo, currently serves as the director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. He was named to that position in August 2009 and currently heads one of NASA’s largest field installations, managing nearly 6,000 civil service and contractor employees and an annual budget of approximately $2.5 billion. In addition, Mr. Lightfoot is also responsible for managing a broad range of propulsion, scientific and space transportation activities that are integral parts of our nation’s space program.

Prior to that, Mr. Lightfoot served as deputy director of the Marshall Center and shared responsibility for managing the center. He also managed the Space Shuttle Propulsion Office at Marshall from 2005 to 2007, where he was responsible for overseeing the manufacture, assembly and operation of the primary shuttle propulsion elements: the main engines, external tank, solid rocket boosters and reusable solid rocket motors.  In fact, Mr. Lightfoot’s work with NASA stretches back to 1989 as a test engineer and program manager for the space shuttle main engine technology test bed program.

Even if you don’t have a personal connection to Montevallo or our honorees, I welcome you to attend this event and to hear Mr. Lightfoot speak.  He has tremendous knowledge and passion for our space program, which is apparent in his talks.  Believe me, you won’t want to miss it.

The breakfast will be held Friday, Oct. 14, at 9 a.m. at American Village’s Liberty Hall in Montevallo. Tickets for the event are $10 per person and may be obtained by contacting Adrian Lucas at Montevallo City Hall, 665-2555, ext 109. Space is limited, so order your tickets early.

Ben W. McCrory is the mayor of Montevallo.