Chelsea High School inducts latest Hall of Fame class

Published 2:41 pm Monday, May 1, 2023

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By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer

CHELSEA – Chelsea’s finest were in attendance to be received as inductees into the Chelsea High School Hall of Fame on Thursday, April 27 at Double Oak Community Church in Chelsea Park.

Student Government Advisor Ryan Adams said events like this help bring recognition to those doing their duty to serve the community.

“Every man must donate a reasonable share of his time to doing his duty in the life of the community,” Adams said. “Nothing worth gaining is ever gained without effort.”

Adams said that ceremonies such as this one speak to the true core values of a community and serve as an example.

“How do you measure things like love, impact and appreciation?” Adams said. “Those are values that are very tough to measure quantifiably, but those are things that you know when you see. For the Hall of Famers tonight and past inductees, this is a realization that the footsteps you left behind are forever solidified.”

Adams encouraged students present at the ceremony to look up the individuals inducted in the hall of fame and see them as role models.

“For the students tonight, we stand on the shoulders of what you have established,” Adams said. “This is a ‘thank you,’ it is a giving back.”

The first Chelsea community member and graduate who was inducted into the Hall of Fame as the athletic inductee was previous Major League Baseball player Mitch Jones, who was named the 1999 Shelby County Player of the Year.

Jones ended his high school career tying for seventh all-time home-runs for a single season in the state of Alabama. Jones continued his career at UAB, before being drafted in the 2003 MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, or Devil Rays at that time.

Jones said that the impact coaches have on their players and students is a massive one that he still feels today.

“It is great to see what the community of Chelsea has become,” Jones said. “As a coach, you don’t realize the impact coaches often have in your lives. There’s such value in the things you (coaches) taught us. It’s hard to put in words the impact you have.”

Jones thanked his parents who took him to every single practice and got him to where he is today, saying they always supportive of him and his career.

The 2023 Community Inductee award was given to Dr. Robbie Hayes. Hayes owns Hayes Eye Center in Chelsea and serves as the vice chairman of the Shelby County Commission, while he volunteers on the sideline of football games at Chelsea High School.

“Standing in front of this crew, I realize how humbling it is to be here,” Hayes said. “It is a wonderful honor.”

Hayes said at 12 years old, he said he was going to stay in Chelsea and work as a doctor, which is exactly what he ended up doing, living the dream of his childhood.

The 2023 Heritage Inductee was named as Earlene Isbell, awarded to her postmortem. Due to Isbell’s passing, family members were present in order to receive the honor.

Upon receiving the award, a family member said that often times he would be walking around town and be informed that whoever he was speaking with had been taught to read by his mother. Isbell was a known and vital member of the community and deeply loved Chelsea High School.

The Academic 2023 Hall of Fame Award was given to Alex Lovorn, who is a licensed property and casualty church insurance professional in the state of Alabama.

He is dedicated to serving ministries and Christian organizations by providing customized programs and coverage.

Lovorn took time during his speech to talk about the true meaning of life, which he said was to seek and serve Christ as opposed to yourself.

The 2023 Student Impact Inductee was given to legendary Chelsea coach Lee Hibbs, a beloved coach and member of the community.

Hibbs talked about the importance of a community like Chelsea High School and how proud he is to have served it for so many decades.

“This has been my home for 42 years,” Hibbs said. “It will be my home as long as I live.”

The last award given of the night was to Ann J. Hodgens for the Faculty Inductee Award. Hodgens proudly serves the community of Chelsea.

“The class motto is best for class,” Hodgens joked. “I’ll take that honor tonight. This is a great honor. When I was called and told I’d been elected, I thought they had the wrong number.”

Hodgens is deeply loved within the community and shares that same love right back.

“I love Chelsea,” she said. “I have lived here all my life. This is really tremendous, and I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.”