A legend in county government
By BONNIE BARTEL LATINO
Special to Atmore News
O. H. Sharpless, III, or simply ”Buddy” as he is known in Montgomery, just as he was during his early formative years here in Atmore, was honored recently when a state building was dedicated in his name. On August 12 this year, former work colleagues, family, and Buddy’s friends, and his wife Ann Sharpless, gathered for the official ceremony at the former home of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA), of which Mr. Sharpless served as Executive Director for over 35 years. Located in Montgomery at 100 N. Jackson Street, the building has, since 2019, housed County Risk Services Inc., an extension of Alabama county government and the third-party administrator for the Association’s insurance programs.
The honor also recognized Mr. Sharpless’ decades of leadership under which the building was constructed and other operations of county governments were indefinitely enriched.
As ACCA’s new executive director in 1975, Mr Sharpless was 26 years old and a 1970 graduate of Troy University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business. The savvy, and equally charismatic, young man was tasked from Day One to speak as one voice in Montgomery and occasionally in Washington, DC, for Alabama’s 67 individual and uniquely diverse counties.
Sunny Braswell, who moved from Assistant Director to Executive Director of the governmental body after Mr. Sharpless retired in early 2009, said of Buddy on ACCA’s Facebook page: “I learned passion, compassion, and commitment from an outstanding man of faith and action. PTL (Praise the Lord) for sending me his way!” The Facebook post also declared that “Buddy Sharpless is a legend in county government,” and that “During his tenure (1974-2009) Mr. Sharpless helped establish a myriad of programs, authorities, and benefits that will continue to impact county government for decades to come.”
Ann and Buddy Sharpless live in Montgomery, where they raised their two children. A future issue of “atmore” magazine will inform readers more about Buddy’s life since he was a 1961 Senior Little League All Star and later moved with his mom, Francis Virginia “Sis” Sharpless, to Ft Walton Beach, Fla.