Archived Story

Appreciation ceremony to honor Cooper

Published 12:36pm Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Cooper Community Center will honor its namesake Sunday.

“We’re having an appreciation service for the Rev. Alfred Cooper,” said Michael Goggans, director of the Cooper Community Center. “We want to highlight his memories from his tenure here and highlight his many achievements.”

The appreciation ceremony will feature reflections from community members on Cooper’s impact during his more than 20 years of service on the school board and 30 years of teaching.

“I’m really excited to see an event honoring Rev. Cooper,” said T.C. Coley, county commissioner. “He’s been a mainstay in the community for decades. He’s provided vital leadership not only in the classroom as instructor but also on the board of education and in several area churches.”

Mayor Charles Shaw said Cooper was very deserving of recognition.

“Rev. Cooper has been a great leader in our community,” Shaw said. “He’s been an inspiration to me for a number of years because of the way he conducts himself. He’s an outstanding citizen and a godly leader. He’s a great man of God.”

Goggans said Cooper first made a personal impact on him in church.

“The first time I became familiar with him he was associate pastor at my church, Haven United Methodist,” Goggans said. “He led prayer, and his words always stuck with me.”

Cooper continued to serve as a motivator for Goggans throughout his football career, Goggans said.

“He always gave me encouraging words,” Goggans said. “He always had something positive to say.”

Goggans said Cooper also encouraged him to succeed off the football field.

“He always told me to stay on top of academics,” Goggans said. “He kept me motivated in that respect.”

Goggans said Cooper grew up in the Lake Martin area and attended Alabama A & M University, where he walked on the football team. Goggans said Cooper was inducted into the Hall of Fame and returned to his hometown to work with youth in the community.

“He started out with a group of kids in his backyard playing ball,” Goggans said. “He joked and said they were breaking too many of his wife’s bushes, so he had to get them a center.”

Coley said Cooper has been an inspiration to the community and he is glad to see him recognized.

“I’ve always admired his commitment and service in community,” Coley said. “He’s always carried himself in a way that inspires excellence in and encourages service by others.”

The appreciation ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. in the Cooper Community Center gym. All members of the community are invited to attend.