BY JACLYN ROSE –
Born and raised around Texarkana, Almer Lee Hadaway, A.L. to his friends, has lived a life full of adventure. From the Arkansas National Guard to Polk County Sherriff to inspecting airplanes, he has had many interesting experiences so far. “The key to success is to marry the love of your life, and to do what you enjoy. When a job runs out or gets boring, I would just move on to the next one. I was never afraid to try something new.”
A.L. and his wife, Fran married in 1960 and together raised a son and a daughter and now enjoy their eight grand kids. “Fran and I have been married for fifty-four years; we learned to never go to bed angry.” A.L. spent nine years in the Arkansas National Guard and was present at Central High School in 1957 during desegregation. He then became a Trooper with the Arkansas State Police in Eastern Arkansas in 1966. “Our unit was called to Memphis and sworn in to act as Tennessee Troopers when Martin Luther King, Jr. died. I’ve seen a lot of history and the Lord has always been with me. He has physically stood between me and death several times.” In 1969, after showing great bravery in an armed robbery chase that sadly took the life of one of his fellow troopers, A.L. was named Arkansas State Trooper of the Year.
A.L. and his family were transferred to Mena in 1969 where he continued to work as a Trooper before he retired in the early 1970s. In the 1974 election, A.L. was elected Polk County Sherriff at the age of thirty-four and continued to serve in that capacity for six terms, a time in his life which he remembers fondly and enjoyed.
When his law enforcement days ended, A.L. moved into Aviation. “My dad was retired Navy and was a pilot and a flight instructor. I was always around airplanes and worked on them on the side to supplement my pay while a Trooper. Moving to aviation just seemed like a natural progression.” A.L. worked as General Manager and Vice President of High Performance Aircraft Engines from 1986-1993, before moving to the position of Maintenance Manager at Reebaire for four years. “My experience in one job always helped lead me in to the next job, and my work at Reebaire helped get me through the future. I was looking in to working for the FAA when Kent Rose called and asked me to move on to Rose Aircraft where I worked for Chief Inspector for close to fifteen years. The Rose family always treated me as family and that’s exactly how I thought of them.”
After leaving Rose Aircraft, A.L. has spent the last two years as an Aviation Consultant for the FAA and has traveled all over the world on jobs, including many trips to Asia, Europe and Africa. “I’ve traveled so much that last year I had to send my passport off to get new pages added to it. I ran out of room. It’s always an adventure, not always fun, but always exciting.”
A.L and Fran have also enjoyed an active membership at Dallas Avenue Baptist Church, where A.L. serves as a Deacon, and has for many years. “Faith in the Lord is very important to us both, and to our marriage. It is one of the keys to our success as a couple.”
“I have seen a lot of history and have enjoyed what I do. That is the key, I have never been afraid to try something else, something new.”