SYLACAUGA -- The Sylacauga City Schools Foundation on Tuesday presented its 55th chair, honoring Mike Deason, a 1961 Sylacauga High graduate.
Sylacauga Mayor Jim Heigl, Sylacauga Schools Superintendent Dr. Jon Segars, members of the community and Deason’s family and friends all attended the presentation at SHS.
A plaque in Deason’s honor was also unveiled Tuesday. It is displayed on the wall of the school’s foyer with other chair honorees.
“Each plaque represents an individual or family who have given to the Foundation to enrich the quality of education in Sylacauga,” Foundation President Jane Vaughn said. “On behalf of the Foundation, we want to extend a heartfelt to thanks to Mike Deason and his family for his generosity, along with the many others who have helped the Foundation. Tonight we are honoring one of our own.”
Deason is the founder of M.T. Deason Company in Birmingham,which manufactures distribution products for the natural gas industry.
Deason was a student at both B.B. Comer and Sylacauga high schools.
According to his bio, Deason attended B.B. Comer until sixth grade before enrolling at SHS the following year.
Vaughn noted Deason has given back to the schools in many ways, including establishing a scholarship for seniors at B.B. Comer and SHS who are interested in pursuing careers in the technical industry, such as welding, pipe fitting and more.
“Over the last two years, Deason has awarded $2,500 in scholarships,” Vaughn said. “We are all very grateful for his love of education in Sylacauga.”
Foundation board member Skip Smithwick Jr. also spoke during Monday’s presentation.
“Mike’s big break happened after he returned from working in Chanute, Illinois, when he met Pete Raughley, the founder of Consolidated Pipe and Supply Company,” Smithwick said.
Deason was employed by CPS for approximately a decade.
During his time at CPS, he opened the company’s first branch office in Nashville, Tennessee.
“While living in Nashville, Mike started his own business, D&D utilities in Hendersonville, Tennessee,” Smithwick said.
Deason later sold the business and returned to Birmingham to establish Empire Pipe and Supply Company.
Smithwick noted that after Deason spent 10 years as a partner at Empire, he again sold the business.
“He started M.T. Deason Company in October of 1982,” Smithwick said. “Today, M.T. Deason Company has grown to over 110 employees and has locations in Birmingham, Dallas and Fairfield, New Jersey.”
Deason expressed his gratitude to the Foundation and longtime friends.
“Looking out into the crowd today, I see so many memories … what a fun place to grow up,” Deason said. “ I feel so blessed to receive this honor. I want to add, I am so impressed that we started out today with a prayer. I’ve been able to do everything I have because of the good Lord. I’m most thankful for all the friends I’ve made here -- money can’t buy them. I’m so proud to be from Sylacauga.”
The Sylacauga City Schools Foundation was established in 1988 by then-Superintendent Dr. Joe Morton and is dedicated to the support of Sylacauga schools in their quest for excellence.
Each year, the Foundation awards thousands of dollars in classroom grants to support learning and has given more than $1.2 million in grants since its inception.
The Sylacauga City Schools Foundation is dedicated to enhancing and supplementing the education needs of students.
Foundation chairs are awarded in honor or memory of individuals or businesses that have donated $25,000.
-- Home staff writer Denise Sinclair contributed to this story.