In the mid 1980’s the dream to build this Memorial began with one person--one person who realized that throughout the 20th century thousands of Alabamians had served in wars and thousands of Alabama families had lost the ones they loved. Yet, for all they gave, we had given very little in return to show our gratitude. This one person voiced her thoughts and quickly found other people who shared the same concern. Together, they formed the Alabama Veterans Memorial Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization which brought to life the dream of a permanent memorial park to honor Alabama Veterans and to educate about war, peace and civic responsibility. This Park, dedicated in May 2001, will stand for all time as a tribute to the Alabamians who fought and came home, as well as those who died in the wars of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Della Fancher, Founder
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.
Howard M. Strickler, MD
Physician practicing medicine in Birmingham; President of Employers Drug Program Management. Served in the U.S. Army on active duty from 1969-1972 and one tour of duty with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam; Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal; Member Medical Executive Committee, Brookwood Medical Center, Medical Association of Alabama, Alabama Chapter of American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Kent Palcanis, Treasurer
Kent Palcanis received his BS and DDS degrees from the 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 the University of Washington. He spent his career in academics retiring as Professor and Associate Dean Emeritus from the Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham. He is presently Executive Director of the American Board of Periodontology.
Walter W. Bailey, Sr.
Grew up in Gowanda, NY, attended Gowanda High School graduated 1949 universitiy of Michigan l949-1955 Degree in History -1953 MBA 1955 MBA 1955 Burroughs Corporation 1955-1956 Sales, Detroit, MI. United States Army - 1956-1958 Army Ballistic missile Agency (NASA) Hunrsville, AL. Created Southern Label Company - 1968 Birmingham, Southern Label Company 1968-2011 Birmingham, AL family Business with 30 employees. operating in in the USA and overseas.
Louise W. (Lulu) Richardson
BS degree from University of Alabama; MA degree from Troy University; former elementary school, middle school, and college educator, teaching in hometown of Andalusia, Alabama; 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.
Robert Sciacca, MD
Board certified ENT physician-surgeon practicing in Hoover, AL, since 1982. Co-developed Medplex Medical Complex in Hoover. AVMF Board member since 1996. Six year active duty U.S. Army veteran,1967-1973. Infantry OCS comissioned, Vietnam combat veteran 1969, platoon leader 9th Infantry Div. Awards: CIB, Purple Heart, Bronze Star w V, Army Commendation Medal w V, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry w Palm, and others. Left active service as a Captain.
J. Thomas Martin, President
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.
David Ricker, Vice President
David Ricker is the principle of Ricker Consulting, LLC, a governmental and political campaign consulting firm. David has been involved with political and governmental relations in the Birmingham, Alabama metro area for the better part of his life. He has over 15 years experience with political campaigns, public service and fundraising. David comes from a family with deep ties to military service. Although, he didn’t serve, David volunteers his time and love of the military with the AVMF.
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 in 2001. 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.
Frederick Bisch received his BS degree from the U. of Ala. and his DMD from the UAB School of Dentistry. Immediately following his graduation from dental school, he joined the Amy where he served for just over 30 years. He received his certificate in Periodontics from the Army Advanced Education Program in 1995 and his MS degree from Medical College of Georgia in 1994. He retired from the Army as a Colonel in 2015. He currently is the Chief of Periodontics at the Birmingham VA Medical Center.
Donna C. Tyner
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.
James “Bud” Hope
Bud has recently retired from 40 plus years in the valve industry. He was educated at UAB, U. 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.
William Merle Smith
A native of Iuka, MS, Merle 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 currently serves as the volunteer coordinator for the Alabama Veterans Memorial Park for their veteran recognition events and various work projects.
Bob 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.