Boy Scouts honor local benefactors


By Mike Goodson/Messenger correspondent 

Dr. George E. Fant, M.D., Judge Charles Wayne Owen and Gadsden businessman Gordon R. Isbell (deceased) were recognized during the recent Greater Alabama Council Lookout Mountain District Boy Scouts of America American Values Luncheon at the Pitman Theatre in downtown Gadsden.

A member of three generations of Eagle Scouts, Fant received his “God and Country” award and is a Vigil Honor Member of the Order of the Arrow. He has served as an assistant scoutmaster of Troup 92 as well as a past district chairman. He currently is the chairman for the District Eagle Board of Review. Fant graduated from the University of Memphis and received his M.D. from the University of Tennessee. 

Fant is a partner in Anesthesia Associates, P.A., and is president of the Etowah County Medical Society. Fant is a member of the First United Methodist Church and is the founding president of the Gadsden Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. He had been married to Jane Fant for the past 32 years. The couple has two children, Susan and William Corey.

Owen was born in Gadsden in 1947. He attended Gadsden public schools where he excelled in both academics and athletics. Owen lettered in four sports at Gadsden High School and was all-state and captain of the football team. He signed a scholarship with the University of Alabama and played football for Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant from 1966 to 1968. 

Owen’s Crimson Tide teams played in the Sugar, Cotton and Gator bowls and were undefeated SEC champions in 1966. A graduate of the University of Alabama Law School, Owen has been a member of the Alabama State Bar since 1972. He was a realtor/attorney from 1969-1983 and served as Etowah County District Judge from 1983-2011.

Judge Owen is very active in the community, where he served as chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board. He was president and served on the YMCA Board of Directors. Owen has also served as president and secretary of the Gadsden Kiwanis Club. He is a member of the Eagle Scout Board of Review and served on the Board of Directors of the Community Intensive Treatment for Youth and the Coosa Valley Youth Services. Owen and his wife, Karen, have a daughter and son and six grandchildren.

Boy Scouts honor locals – 2B

Isbell was a lifelong resident of Etowah County who attended Attalla Grammar School and Etowah High School. He graduated EHS in 1941 and served in the U.S. Army from 1943-1946. Isbell graduated from Auburn University in 1947.

A member of the First United Methodist Church of Attalla for 87 years, Isbell served on several church committees, including the finance committee and the building fund committee. He was very active in the Kiwanis Club, with 55 years perfect attendance.

Isbell was the owner of Isbell and Hallmark Furniture Company for more than 50 years. He was a member of the Gadsden Chamber of Commerce and served as president of the Retail Store Division. Isbell also served on the Etowah County Retail Furniture Dealer’s Association’s Board of Directors. Gordon Isbell was married to Iris Johnson Isbell for 58 years. He has three sons, Dr. Gordon R. Isbell III, Hal J. Isbell and Gil F. Isbell, and seven grandchildren. Accepting on behalf of Isbell was his son, Gil. 

The event’s keynote speaker was noted speaker and author Rev. Chette L. Williams, who is in his 14th year as Auburn University’s football team chaplain. He is also campus director for the Auburn University Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and serves as president of Chette William’s Ministries. 

Williams was a three-year letterman in football at AU during the early 1980s, during which time the Tigers won the Sugar, Citrus and Liberty bowls. 

Williams spoke about his friendship with Kyle Collins and the impact that this friendship made on him at Auburn. Collins helped Williams through some difficult times at Auburn, including an instance in which Williams was asked to leave the football team. Collins taught Williams to “take one day at a time!” 

Williams returned to Auburn after his athletic career to be the team chaplain. When Auburn called Williams, he was told, “we have an offensive coordinator, a defensive coordinator and now we need a spiritual coordinator.”

Rev. Williams spoke of the “Six Pillars of Character,” which include trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, care, fairness and citizenship.


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