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EDITORIAL: Manley’s contributions had profound impact on community

This past week, our city, county and region lost a true advocate in Richard “Rick” Manley. Everyone seems to be in agreement that Manley’s contributions helped pave the road, quite literally, to where our area is today.

Manley’s efforts — whether he was in Marengo County or serving his constituents in Montgomery — is visible to us today.

Consider U.S. Hwy. 80 and his pursuit to ensure its expansion to four lanes. His relentless effort as a legislator to get that project done created a major highway through West Alabama, creating new opportunities across the region. Due in large part to his effort, Hwy. 80 in Demopolis is peppered with businesses, jobs, and travelers making their way to further destinations, but perhaps stopping here for gas, food, or to browse one of the many shops.

His legacy is also evident in local classrooms. As the chairman of the Demopolis City Schools Board of Education in the summer of 1970, his leadership helped guide the school system through a tumultuous time. While many other systems struggled through integration, Demopolis managed to come together to provide a sound education for everyone. Certainly a task as large as integrating a school system involved roles from many in the community and Manley was among those on the front lines to ensure the local system remained strong for decades to come.

While these are only two of Manley’s major contributions, those who knew him say the same thing, ‘we’ll never know everything he did.’ Considering his many roles in the community — from legislator to city attorney, Rotarian to school board member — the full impact of his service and dedication may be immeasurable, but should never be forgotten.