Loved ones visit Portraits of Honor

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Loved ones of LaFayette gathered at the historic courthouse on Monday night to celebrate the Portraits of Honor that LaFayette Main Street displayed throughout the past year. 

From law enforcement officers to educators, over 30 portraits of LaFayette’s finest hung in the courthouse’s halls. Family members and city leaders walked about and paused to get a picture with the town’s fallen legacies. 

“This has been a fantastic project that LaFayette Main Street has really poured a lot into to honor so many lives and so many legacies,” said LaFayette Main Street Director DeAnna Hand. “Very special people who really made history here in LaFayette from their service to their dedication to the many projects that they were able to complete and do for our sweet town.”

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LaFayette Main Street, an organization designed to beautify and revitalize the city’s downtown, began hanging portraits in the window of the former McClendon building on Third Avenue in February 2023. 

Each month, people submitted individuals who “significantly influenced and contributed” to the town’s history, almost all of them born and raised in Chambers County. 

Over the course of the year, LaFayette Main Street collaborated with the city of LaFayette to honor 32 individuals. 

During the ceremony, Hand recognized Mayor Kenneth Vines and Alabama Senator Randy Price for their collaboration. According to Hand, Price helped LaFayette Main Street to receive a grant from the Alabama Department of Tourism to continue the commemoration. 

“We put together a deal where we gave some grants for different projects that meant something to communities and that brought people together,” Price said during the meeting. “And this just fit the mold perfectly.”

Price and Vines both thanked Hand for her hard work with the project. Vines, a LaFayette native, said he recognized many portraits of people who made a significant and personal impact in his own life as a police officer and as a city employee. He said it reminded him of times when he was forced to grow and learned life lessons.

“There are so many people [who] had such an impact on me,” Vines said. “And I guess I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if they didn’t kind of chastise me and got on me and make me feel that at the time, but then at the end of the day, they still hugged me and said, ‘do better.’”

Vines said when he became mayor, he had a goal to see growth in the city. He thanked Hand for the work that LaFayette Main Street has done throughout the past year to add to the city’s growth. 

“Thank you so much for the hard work you did this year. I know you work hard, and like I always say, whatever I need to do for support, I’m here,” Vines said to Hand during the ceremony.