Albertville High School Hall of Fame

Members of the Class of 2018 of the Albertville High School Hall of Fame include (from left) Nathan Cole, the late Wilson W. Carnes (accepted by Jimmy Carnes), Elise W. Thomason, Dr. Frank Francisco, H. L. (Wayne) Heard and Dr. James Houston Alford, Jr.

Six alumni were installed in the Albertville High School Hall of Fame on Friday.

A special luncheon and induction ceremony was held at the South Hall to welcome the new members.

The six members inducted included: 

James Houston Alford Jr.


James Huston Alford Jr. was born in Albertville and graduated from Albertville High School in 1955. He received a B.S. degree from the University of Alabama in 1959 and his MD degree from the Medical College of Alabama in 1963. He remained at University Hospital to complete an internship, fellowship in endocrinology and residency in obstetrics and gynecology. He practiced OB/GYN in Montgomery until his retirement in 2005.

He has been a member of several administrative boards and committees during his career and currently serves on the Board of the University of Alabama School of Medicine Alumni Association, Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church, Montgomery Council on Substance Abuse and the Alabama Physician Wellness Committee. He is the executive director of the Alabama Foundation for Medical Excellence – an organization that raises funds to promote physician wellness.

In 1992, Alford was successfully treated for alcoholism through the assistance of the Alabama Physician Health Program. Since then he has been an active participant in a 12-Step recovery program and is a member of International Doctors in Alcoholics Anonymous (IDAA). IDAA is a fellowship of doctors and their families whose primary purpose is to support one another in recovery from substance use disorders. Alford served on its steering committee from 2001-2005. In 2003, Alford and his wife, Susan, chaired IDAA’s annual meeting which was held in Mobile. More than 650 members and their families attended this event.

In 2004, Alford was honored by the University of Alabama School of Medicine Alumni Association with the Hettie Butler Terry Award which is given for community service. In 2009, he received the Outstanding Physician Award, which is given annually by the Montgomery County Medical Society, for exemplary service to the medical profession and to the community. In 2012, the Drug Education Council of Mobile presented him the Marion V. Cranford Award given for leadership and dedication to helping those affected by alcoholism and drug addiction. In 2006, he was inducted into the Marshall County Sports Hall of Fame. In 2015, he was named Distinguished Alumnus by the University of Alabama Medical Alumni Association and also received the Buford Word Award – the highest honor presented by the Medical Association of Alabama, for Outstanding Service to Humanity Beyond Professional Duty.

Since 2005, he has worked an assistant medical director of the Alabama Physician Health Program (APHP). In this capacity, he travels throughout this state providing educational programs to county medical associations and hospital staff. He also assists with interventions and monitoring of physicians in this state that are currently experiencing problems which could lead to impairment and the inability to practice medicine safely.

Alford is the father of three children: Vivian, Brad and Greg. The Alfords live in Montgomery and have five grandchildren: Huston, Jane Abbie, Wyatt, John and Addie.

Wilson W. Carnes


Wilson W. Carnes was born in Albertville, Alabama on June 25, 1924. After graduation from Albertville High School in 1942, he entered the Army in 1944. During World War II, he served as an infantryman with the 12th Armored Division, participating in several European campaigns where he earned both the Combat Infantry Badge and the Purple Heart.

After the war he attended Auburn University, earning a BS degree in agricultural education (1949) and completing some postgraduate work (1954). In 1955, he moved to Alexandria, Virginia, to work with the Future Farmers of America (FFA), later becoming editor-in-chief of the FFA magazine as well as the administrative director of the FFA organization. He was a member of the President’s National Agricultural Education Advisory Council of the American Vocational Association (1975-1980), and a member of the American Agricultural Editor’s Association serving as president from 1974-1975. His memberships included the National Association of Supervisors of Agricultural Education, the National Vocation Agricultural Teachers Association (honorary life member), and Future Farmers of America Alumni Association, Disabled American Veterans (lifetime), Auburn University Alumni Association and Alpha Tau Alpha (honorary life member).

Carnes’ many contributions to the education of America’s youth were recognized upon his retirement by the establishment of the “FFA/Wilson W. Carnes Scholarship” to assist those who will pursue four-year degrees in agricultural communications. Wilson was inducted into the FFA National Hall of Achievement 1993.

Wilson was also an active member of Calvary Presbyterian Church where he served as a deacon, elder, and as clerk of the session.

Nathan H. Cole, MBA


Nathan Cole is a 1994 graduate of Albertville High School. As a multi-year letterman of the Aggie football, basketball, baseball and track and field teams, Cole received athletic awards ranging from team captain to All-County, All-Area, Area-MVP, All-Region, and HM All-State. Cole earned the Vernon Wells Winner Award, started 34 consecutive games, and helped lead AHS to three consecutive state playoff appearances. Cole graduated with academic honors and signed a football scholarship with the University of Arkansas Razorbacks.

As a four-year football letterman, Cole played in 47 consecutive games, was a member of two SEC Western Division Championship Teams, three All-SEC Academic Teams, and the All-SEC Good Works Team. Other highlights include winning the “Iron Hog” and multiple “Wild Hog” performance awards and catching a touchdown pass that helped the Razorbacks defeat the Auburn Tigers 24-21. Cole was president of Arkansas Athletes Outreach, similar to FCA, for four years and was inducted into the Marshall County Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

After graduating from the University of Arkansas in 1999 with a master of business administration, Cole began his career with Pfizer Inc. He held 10 different roles of increasing responsibility across 18 years. Cole won the Vice President’s Cabinet Award and was ranked in the national top 5 percent at every level of Pfizer’s U.S. Sales Force including: outpatient field sales (Tennessee), institutional and government accounts (North Carolina), regional sales operations (Georgia) and district business manager (South Carolina). These achievements allowed Cole to be promoted to Pfizer’s Global Headquarters in New York, New York, where he led multiple contract sales organizations (CSOs) for Pfizer and effectively steered four corporate vendor partnerships utilizing more than $100 million in annual contracts with a quota of almost $4 billion. These CSOs consisted of 750+ employees, were deployed in all 50 U.S. States, and supported diverse business units such as primary care, established products, vaccines, consumer health and animal healthcare. Cole’s success allowed him to receive the U.S. Commercial Operations Summit Club Award which is given annually to the highest rated headquarters-based employees.

After leading a 25+ workstream project management office to initiate, modify, or remove sales forces from markets of increasing complexity, Cole was promoted to join Pfizer’s Global Commercial Operations (GCO) team where he helped unify all global sales training efforts. Cole was then asked to lead a large team of internationally based employees having responsibility for Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. This proved to be Cole’s favorite role and awarded him one of the highest performance ratings of his Pfizer career. After 18 successful years with Pfizer, Nathan’s faith led him to take on a new challenge. As of 2018, he was leading the business efforts in expanding a highly accredited christian college.

AHS prepares students like Cole through diverse educational opportunities while teaching respect for the personal commitment and accountability required to succeed. Thankful for these truths, Nathan Cole is “always proud to be called an Aggie.”

Frank Francisco, O.D.


Dr. Frank Francisco is a 2004 graduate of Albertville High School. He is the son of indigenous Mayan Guatemalan immigrants who moved to Albertville in 1994 to begin work at the local poultry plants. Because of his indigenous Mayan heritage, Frank speaks Spanish and Qanjobal. He is the youngest of five siblings who are all graduates of Albertville High School as well. Due to his humble upbringing, Francisco had big dreams as a child and was determined to succeed in academics. During high school, FraFrancisconk took pride in excelling on and off the soccer field. He was captain of the boys’ varsity soccer team, as well as a member of the math team, and finished Top 5 in his graduating class.

In 2008, Francisco completed the UAB School of Health Professions Honors Program and graduated cum laude at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (BS, radiography). During college, Francisco worked tirelessly for the advancement of Hispanic representation in his community. Francisco volunteered at the office of the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (HICA), as well as served as a Spanish and Qanjobal interpreter at the local charity hospital in Birmingham. In addition to his service, Francisco published an article in the national Radiologic Technology journal in 2009 on the impact interpretation services had on healthcare facilities in Alabama.

In 2014, Francisco graduated with a doctorate in optometry at the University of Alabama School of Optometry. During optometry school, Francisco served as vice president of Student Volunteer Optometric Service to Humanity (SVOSH) and president of the National Optometric Student Association (NOSA).

Today, Francisco is the head optometrist at Marvelous Eyes, where he oversees the optometric care in three eye care practices in the Birmingham area. Francisco is also a member of the UAB School of Optometry Alumni Association and continues to devote his time to his community and to serve as a mentor to several Hispanic students interested in higher education and the field of optometry.

H. L. (Wayne) Heard


Wayne Heard graduated from Albertville High School in 1945. He was president and valedictorian of the senior class, as well as president of the National Honor Society and two-time captain of the high school football team.

In December 1949, he graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering, and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF Reserve. With engineering jobs difficult to find in 1950 until the Korean War began, Heard served as a school teacher at Albertville High School until March 1951. At that time, a position with Douglas Aircraft Company in Santa Monica, California, was offered and gratefully accepted.

His employment with Douglas Aircraft Company (later called McDonnell Douglas) spanned 38 years and included assignments in the design of the DC-6B, DC-7, DC-8 and D-9 aircrafts. While assigned to the Missile and Space Systems division, additional projects included Saturn IV (the fourth state of the moon rocket), Orbital Workshop (the first manned space station) and Delta launch vehicles for numerous satellites. He served as the quality assurance program manager for the Payload Assist Module, which was the final stage of the Global Positioning Satellite vehicle.

Heard achieved the status of California Registered Professional Quality Engineer. Following his retirement in 1988, he was retained by McDonnell Douglas as an engineering consultant.

Heard’s early training by family, local Albertville schools and church activities convinced him to believe in the following during his work and pursuit of happiness:

  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
  • When in conversations with others remember to listen; recognize that they have a right to their opinion even through it is different from yours;
  • All work and no play makes Wayne a dull person

Elise W. Thomason


Elise Thomason is a 1996 graduate of Albertville High School. While at AHS, Elise served for two years as the drum major of the Aggie Band. She served as the sophomore class president and the secretary and vice president of the Student Government Association. Thomason was a member of the Centerstage Show Choir and the Madrigal Choir. She was elected to the Homecoming Court in 1995 and was a Class Favorite in 1995 and 1996.

After graduating, Thomason went to Auburn University, where she graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in visual communication in 2000. Thomason began her career as a junior graphic designer with a branding studio in Atlanta, then known as Copeland + Hirthler. The highly sought-after firm, which was at the time undergoing a name change to Iconologic, had a rich portfolio of national and international work.

In 2004, the Organizing Committee for the XX Olympic Winter Games Torino 2006 (abbreviated as TOROC) engaged Iconologic to create the look of the games for the upcoming 2006 Olympic Winter Games, to be held in Turin (Torino), Italy. The project was to be the creation of a design system and set of pictograms that would be applied to tens of thousands of surfaces: sports venues, banners, medals, the field of play, the Olympic Torch Relay, way-finding signage throughout the host city and villages, merchandise, and much more. It would be seen throughout the world on broadcasts of the Olympic Winter Games.

Each of the designers at Iconologic submitted his or her own initial proposal for the look of the games, and TOROC chose Thomason’s. By the time the project was complete, it had garnered a great deal of press. Thomason’s work on the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games project was the cover story for both Auburn Alumni Magazine and Communication Arts Magazine (the leading international industry publication for the graphic design, advertising, and branding professions). Two of her posters for the Olympics are in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Thomason quickly rose through the ranks at Iconologic, from junior designer to designer to senior designer to associate creative director. Her clients have included many national and international brands such as Coca-Cola, Visa, Volkswagen, The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, The U.S. Virgin Islands, The State of Georgia, and André Benjamin of the rap duo Outkast. She has also done much work for non-profit organizations and smaller brands.

Thomason now works as an independent designer, illustrator, and artist. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Chuck, and their son, Charles. She serves as the co-president of the Altar Guild at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church.

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