Meet our Board Members
Della Fancher, Founder
Howard M. Strickler, MD
Kent Palcanis, Treasurer
Della Fancher is a native of Shelby County and grew up in Cahaba Heights. Della has 25 years of financial services, private banking and asset management and is currently Samford University’s School of Education Advancement Officer. She has a BS in Business and an MBA from Samford University. She is founder and board member of the Alabama Veterans Memorial Foundation.
Dr. Strickler is a practicing physician in Birmingham, Alabama. He served in the U.S. Army on active duty from 1969-1972 including one tour of duty with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. He is a member of the Alabama State Medical Association, a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a life member of the 101st Airborne Division Association.
Kent Palcanis received his BS and DDS degrees from Ohio State University. He served in the USAF Dental Corps with a Dental Internship and then two additional years of active duty. He received his MSD degree and certificate in Periodontics from Univ. of Washington. He spent his career in academics retiring as Professor and Associate Dean Emeritus from Univ. of Alabama Birmingham. He also served as Executive Director of the American Board of Periodontology, retiring from that position in 2018.
Walter W. Bailey, Sr.
Robert J. Sciacca
J. Thomas Martin, President
Walter Bailey grew up in Gowanda, NY and graduated from Gowanda High School in 1949. He attended the University of Michigan, earning a BA in History in 1953 and a MBA in Business in 1955. He served in the US Army from 1956-1958 at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (NASA) in Huntsville, Alabama. After his service, he worked with Addressograph Co from 1958 to 1968, moving to Birmingham in 1960. He founded Southern Label Co, a family-owned business in 1968. He retired in 2020.
Robert J. Sciacca M.D.(retired ENT surgeon). Active Board member since 1995. Active Army service 1968-1973, Infantry OCS commissioned, Ft Benning, GA. 2/39/9th Inf Div, Platoon leader,Mekong Delta, Vietnam,1969. CO, HHC Multi Service Vietnamese Language School, FT. Bliss,TX.1971-72. DTOC Officer 1st Inf DIV, FT. Riley, KS,1972-73. Awards: CIB, Purple Heart, Bronze Star w V, ARCOM w V, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry w Palm, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and others. Left active service as CPT.
Board Member of the AVMF since 1989; Attorney at Law since 1979; member of the Alabama State Bar; Served in the US Army, Armor, left service as a Captain.
Richard F. Wilson, II
Ernest C. (Ernie) Hester, Secretary
Native of Birmingham, joined the U.S. Army in 1974 and remained in the Army Reserve through 2003 retiring as Sergeant Major. Received the Meritorious Service Medal while mobilized in support of Operation Noble Eagle. Specialized in communications in the signal corps, retrained in logistics and served as Division G4 NCOIC for the last ten years of his military career. Employed by Holt AV/Video since 1980 in various technical capacities.
Mr. Richard F Wilson II is a native of Virginia. He graduated From Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army in 1981. He served a total of 37 years, both active and reserve and was mobilized during Operation Enduring Freedom. He is now retired and lives in Hoover, Alabama. Rick is currently the Event Coordinator for the Alabama Veterans’ Memorial Park.
Capt Edward Scooter Thomas USMCR
Donna Cotney Tyner has a B.S. Degree from Auburn University. She has served the Birmingham area as a Realtor® since 1998 and has served on local, state, and national committees. Donna’s family has strong military ties. Her love for the military stems from her family’s duty of service.
Bob Arnwine is a native of the Birmingham area, growing up in Homewood. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in June 1966. He served two years in South Vietnam, including one year in a Marine rifle company. He also spent six months aboard a ship in the Mediterranean Sea. He was released from active duty in June 1970 with the rank of Sergeant. Bob is active in the Marine Corps League and has served as Commandant of the Howlin’ Mad Smith Detachment in Birmingham.
Scooter maintains his affiliation with the Marine Corps Reserve and is currently serving as a Captain in Current Operations for the Pacific Command. Scooter and his wife Megan happily reside in Mountain Brook with their daughter Evie and two dogs , Lettie and Macy. In his spare time, Scooter is proud to help further his high school alma mater’s mission by serving as a member of the Alumni Association Board of The Altamont School and the President of the Birmingham chapter of the Hampden-Sydney alumni club.
James “Bud” Hope
Louise W. (Lulu) Richardson
The late James "Bud" Hope retired from 40 plus years in the valve industry. He was educated at UAB, University of Kentucky, and Furman University. He entered the Army in July 1966 and served until June 1972 as Armor Officer. He served in Vietnam with Company A, 1st Battalion, 69th Armored Brigade as first platoon leader and then executive officer. He was awarded the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star and others.
Lulu achieved a BS degree from University of Alabama, MA degree from Troy University, and is a former elementary school, middle school, and college educator, teaching in her hometown of Andalusia, Alabama as well as Ann Arbor, Michigan, Livingston, Alabama, and Birmingham. Founder in 2001 of FOCUS On Recovery, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Birmingham, that provides housing and support for women in recovery from alcohol and drugs.
A native of Luka, MS, the late Merle Smith served as a Staff Sargent in the U.S. Air Force from 1969-1972, including a tour of duty in South Korea. He earned a BS of Electrical Engineering degree from Mississippi State University (1975) and a MBA from UAB (1985). He retired from Alabama Power Co. after 39 years of service as a supervisor in Power Delivery. He also served as the volunteer coordinator for the Alabama Veterans Memorial Park for their veteran recognition events and various work projects.