By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution became the latest organization to formally recognize the extensive involvement of two local sisters in the successful effort to restore the Strand Theatre and adjoining Encore building (formerly Atmore Hardware Store).
Dale Ash and Cindy Colville were presented prestigious DAR Community Service Awards during the November 16 meeting of the national society’s Ft. Mims Chapter in the lobby of the former hardware store.
Claudia Campbell, Community Service Chair for the Ft. Mims chapter, explained that such honors “recognize unpaid volunteers for community service of individuals and organizations,” and that recipients are selected on the basis of their “contribution to the community in an outstanding manner through voluntary heroic, civic, benevolent service.”
Ft. Mims Chapter Regent Sharon Murphy and Vice Regent Campbell moderated the meeting, but local member Nancy Karrick was given the honor of introducing the two and outlining the role each played in the downtown revitalization project.
“Two of the ladies here today — Dale Ash and Cindy Colville — have contributed countless hours,” Karrick said. “Between the two of them, they secured most of the money for the purpose of renovation of these two buildings. It probably would not have been completed without the two of them.”
Karrick said she “misled” the award winners, telling each that her sister was to receive the recognition.
“I asked Dale if she would give me information on Cindy because I was working on (an award) for her,” Karrick explained. “She was excited to do so. I turned around and asked Cindy if she would do the same for Dale. They didn’t know about the other.”
The award nomination included that Ash, who wrote many of the grants that helped fund the $5 million project, was “instrumental in securing funding and securing historic tax credits,” “donated countless hours of her time” and “acted as overall financial adviser” for the restoration project.
Karrick said it was Colville who “pushed Dale for the two of them to become actively involved in Pride of Atmore once a strategic plan was developed.”
Colville was cited for setting up meetings between POA and historic preservationist Stephen McNair to make sure restorations adhered to U.S. Department of Interior guidelines. In 2018 she took over management of the group’s capital campaign that eventually made the downtown dream a reality.
POA Past President Foster Kizer said both sisters played a large part in getting the buildings placed on the National Register of Historic Places. He added that Colville exhibited “generosity, selfless dedication and willingness to help,” and made contributions to multiple community causes and projects,” traits that have become “her trademark.”
Karrick added that, “Both of the sisters in this dynamic duo have their own areas of expertise but are also willing to step in and help in other areas as needed.”
Ash said neither she nor her sister should be given all the praise.
“There’s no ‘I’ in this,” she said. “It’s teamwork, everybody pitching in, working together to make our hometown better.”
Before those in attendance took a tour of the renovated buildings, the DAR chapter regent and Karrick presented Kizer, Ash and Colville with a U.S. flag for the buildings, one that had flown over the Capitol in Washington, D.C.