He’s the friendliest guy in all of Brewton
You may not know his name but you are probably familiar with his friendly wave as he sits in front of his son-in-law’s shop on St. Nicholas Avenue.
Hilton Hale is the unofficial town greeter and has been recognized for his efforts to greet those who drive by Brewton Air Refrigeration and Cooling.
“I didn’t know anything about anybody noticing my waving,” Hale said. “I just like to be happy about what I do and it makes me happy to wave to the people as they drive by.”
Last year, as part of the Brewton Reborn, a project promoting civic involvement, Hale was selected to be the first recipient of this award. He was presented with a plaque which hangs in a place of honor in his home of 56 years on Portwood Street, along with a newspaper article commemorating the event.
Hale was also praised in the proclamation signed by Mayor Yank Lovelace. In part the proclamation thanked Hale for his “civic pride and Southern hospitality.” It also stated that Hale brings “joy and cheer and is an inspiration to his friends, family and passersby.”
Hale grew up in the McCall community, attended Pollard McCall School and then on to Flomaton High School. He joined the U.S. Army in 1950 just as the world was heating up with what is known as “the Korean Conflict.” He shipped out and went to Korea to a combat zone.
Hale made it home, and in 1967, he was 37 and working for Alabama Power when a brain hemorrhage changed his life forever.
A blinding headache sent him into a three-week coma, and the doctors told his family that he would probably never wake up.
But doctors did not count on the strength of their patient, and after three weeks he came out of the coma. But he never sat around and felt sorry for himself.
“I want to be happy with what I have,” said Hale. “It could have been a lot worse than it is.”
He said he doesn’t feel sorry for himself and only wants to bring a little sunshine into someone else’s life – and that’s the reason he sits by the street in front of Yoder’s Refrigeration and Heating and waves to those who pass by. So if you drive down St. Nicholas Avenue, slow down and give him a wave.