A portion of Highway 431 in Russell County was recently renamed in honor of Edward F. Crowell, a decorated serviceman and a celebrated businessman and a very good friend of this writer. I have known the honoree since the early 1970s and can attest to the fact that Ed Crowell is an outstanding person and worthy of this honor.

The road between mile markers 91 and 98 on Highway 431 now boasts signage identifying the section of highway as the General Edward F. Crowell Highway in honor of its namesake, “who has made the lives of his fellow citizens better and has brought honor and respect to Alabama through his tireless and dedicated contributions to this state and the country,” according to the state legislature’s joint resolution approving the naming.

Ed served 35 years in the United States Air Force, becoming a Brigadier General in 2004. He retired from the USAF in 2009 after serving as Commandant of the Air War College and Vice Commander of Air University, both located at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. He has received numerous awards for his service, including the U.S. Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the third highest honor given by the service branch. He has also received the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service, Air Force Longevity Service, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Silver Hour Glass, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Small Expert Marksmanship Ribbon and Air Force Training Ribbon.

Ed has worked as a civilian for more than 20 years at VT Miltope, a technology company for military, industrial and commercial aviation applications. He is currently its president and CEO and is universally respected for his leadership and work.

In addition, he was appointed by former Gov. Bob Riley as a Trustee to the Troy University Board and was appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley to the State Health Planning and Development Agency’s Certificate of Need Review Board and the Commission for Efficiency in State Government.

Ed received his bachelor’s from Alabama State University, a master’s of business administration from Troy State University, and during his military service, received degrees from the Squadron Officer School, the Air War College and the Air Command and Staff College.

As a young man, Ed says he journeyed daily along Highway 431 to work with his brother in the textile industry in Columbus, Ga., “never envisioning that one day this highway would bear my name.” Ed had this to say of the recognition:

I am deeply humbled and truly honored that a highway of any sorts would bear my name, particularly one as well traveled as Highway 431. I have never aspired anything other than doing my duty for God and Country, expecting nothing in return.

To officially commemorate the honor, a sign bearing the highway’s new name was unveiled on Dec. 16. We all will run into “special people” during our lives and Ed Crowell is certainly one of those persons for me. I am very proud of my friend and wish him well in all of his future endeavors.

Sources: U.S. Air Force Biographies, AL-SJR94, Alabama Ethics Commission

Jere L. Beasley, Beasley Allen Founder
Jere Beasley

Jere Beasley, the founding member of Beasley Allen Law Firm, has practiced law as an advocate for victims of wrongdoing since 1962. He was the lead Beasley Allen attorney in the record $11.9 billion award against ExxonMobil Corp. on behalf of the state of Alabama.

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