Lawrence County Commissioners honored two fallen community leaders the county lost in 2020 last week during the commission’s regular meeting on Friday and named Lawrence County Airpark airport hangar after Anthony A.C. Cottingham.
“This year has been a very difficult year for all of us, especially when we’ve lost two of our family,” Commission Chair Kyle Pankey.
The families of Lawrence County former Emergency Management Agency Director Johnny Cantrell and former Airpark Director Anthony “A.C.” Cottingham were present to accept signed resolutions from the County Commission.
State EMA representative Eddie Porter said he had only met Cantrell nine months ago, “but it’s like I’ve known him nine years,” he said. “Johnny was a brother, a friend, and a mentor—a midnight mentor. You could call Johnny any time of the day.”
Cantrell, 55 of Hatton, passed away unexpectedly on May 1 from a blood clot. He had served as Lawrence County’s EMA Director for the past six years, following 12 years of EMA experience in Morgan County.
Porter read a letter from Alabama EMA Director Brian Hastings in Friday’s meeting: “Johnny’s legacy will live on in each of us, as he would’ve wanted. Remembering that everyone was his friend, he never met a stranger, and Johnny would’ve given anything to those in need,” Hastings said. “In addition to the love of his family, Johnny touched the lives of so many others through his selfless service to the public in the military and in the emergency management profession.”
District 4 Commissioner Bobby Burch said Cantrell made several substantial improvements for the county’s EMA department, including technology upgrades at the EMA facility in downtown Moulton, which improved the county’s response time and weather preparedness during an emergency or in a natural disaster.
Commissioners also recognized the late A.C. Cottingham, 49 of Trinity, who passed away on Sept. 2 in a crop-dusting accident. Franklin County authorities said the cause of the fatal plane crash was undetermined. Cottingham’s plane went down in a cornfield near County Line Road just west of Lawrence County; he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cottingham had served as the Airpark director for Lawrence for the past four years before his untimely death.
District 5 Commissioner Joey Hargrove said Cottingham was “instrumental in many improvements at the airport,” including his work in having the runway’s turmac repaved.
“He was a beloved, lifelong resident of Lawrence County,” Hargrove said. “He fulfilled his responsibilities as Airpark director admirably, and together with his family, maintained the airport premises in a truly professional manner.”
Hargrove made the motion to rename the Airpark’s maintenance hangar in remembrance of Cottingham. He said a steel sign will be erected on the structure at the airport after plans are complete.
In Monday’s meeting, commissioners also approved agreements with AVENU Insights & Analytics, LLC, which will take over collections and processing sales tax and appraisal revenue, according to County Administrator Heather Dyar.
Commissioners also appointed Rev. Bobby Diggs to the 911 Board for District 1.
All commissioners were present for Friday’s meeting. The next Lawrence County Commission meeting is set for 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 13, following a work session at 9 a.m. the Thursday before.