Teddy was born in Lawrence County, AL in March of 1946, and he grew up in Hatton. While working at Sears in 1968, he received his draft notice into the United States Army on April 10. After attending basic training at Ft. Benning, GA, he went to Ft. Pope Louisiana to become a truck driver. His first duty station was at Ft. Lewis, Washington where he was assigned to the 143rd Supply Company in the 6th Army. His primary job was transporting petroleum fuel (JP4 and AVGAS) to various aircraft at Ft. Lewis. His most memorable experiences include being a rifleman on the Army Honor Guard burial detail, in which he would travel all over the east coast performing at funerals for our country’s fallen heroes.
After serving his two year commitment, Teddy separated in 1970 and went into the active reserves. At the same time, he went back to work at Sears and enrolled in Calhoun Community College using his GI Bill. In 1986, he graduated from Athens State University with a degree in Systems Engineering while working for NASA. While at NASA, he held a variety of positions, perhaps the most interesting of them being part of the Space Station Support program. When going into space, everything has to be carried with you, including water. Teddy was part of a program that converted urine and sweat into safe drinking water. Also, when you are in space, each time you reprocess your “water” you lose 4 – 6% of a gallon, so you have to know how many times you can reprocess the fluid.
After retirement from NASA in 2011, Teddy came to the museum to volunteer in January of 2013. Teddy was looking for something to do, and he saw an advertisement for volunteers here at the museum. He decided to come in and see what we were all about. Not too long after Teddy started volunteering, I found myself in need of a part time employee. I noticed his attention to detail and offered him the job, which he happily accepted. Teddy is a wonderful tour guide. We have had a number of guests comment on his professionalism and knowledge. He is also in charge of daily building maintenance and setting up for our monthly coffee call. We certainly would have a hard time doing it without his dedication!
He thinks the community does a wonderful job of recognizing our Veterans, but he will help in any way he can. He would like to see a bigger meeting place for our coffee call, and see more people utilize our library. Teddy is also active in the Vietnam Veterans Association (VVA) and the American Veterans (AMVETS.)
Teddy has been married to his lovely wife Patricia for 52 years in June, they have two sons Tarry (who is married to BJ) and Trent (who is married to Rebekah). He has 4 grandchildren: Vance and Ty Dutton, and Hallie and Andrew Hall.
By: Sandra Thompson – Director, Alabama Veterans’ Museum