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Secretary Merrill Celebrates Military Appreciation Month through Honoring Veteran Owned Businesses


Friday, May 1, 2020 – MONTGOMERY – During Military Appreciation Month, Secretary of State John H. Merrill expresses his support and gratitude for our military men and women.

Secretary Merrill also remembers his late grandfather, World War II Veteran Sherman Thompson, whose 101st birthday his family celebrates today.

“Our country is forever indebted to those who have so bravely fought for and who are currently defending the freedoms we enjoy today,” stated Merrill. “Their demonstrations of courage, strength and leadership extend far beyond the battle field and into our communities today. Our state has hundreds of military and veteran owned businesses registered with the Office of the Secretary of State, and I commend these men and women.”

Dr. Barry Lee Booth, of Baldwin County, is among those who have given back to his country, state, and local community stating, “I am proud to be a Navy Veteran and to have been attached to the Marine Corps, NSA, Da Nang, 3rd Marine Division and 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. I am grateful for all of the friendships I made throughout my service, and I am very proud of my son, Justin, who is a Navy Veteran as well.”

Upon returning from his service in the military in 1969, Dr. Booth went on to opening his own dental practice in Spanish Fort, where he has continued his practice for more than 54 years.

His time in the military left such a profound impact on him that he later contributed the land for the Alabama State Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Spanish Fort.

C&C Contractors, which was formed in 2008 by retired Special Forces Colonel Carlos Rabren and is now owned by Brant Reibling, Fred Pearson and Daniel Davidson, is a service-disabled Veteran owned small business located in Notasulga, Alabama.

C&C built the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo and has since built or is in the process of building more than thirty National Cemetery projects across the country. Additionally, C&C works with the Department of Defense and United States Army Corp of Engineers to enhance our nation’s military readiness.

The President of C&C Contractors, Brant Reibling, served 16 months in Iraq with the 1165th Military Police Company out of Fairhope in 2003 and 2004.

“As a business, we are very proud of what we have been able to accomplish over the years, and we are even more proud of who we are providing the service for. It is such an honor to be part of a business that increases our nation’s military readiness, and even more humbling, to have the privilege of building the final resting place for our nation’s heroes, which we are constantly reminded of as ‘Taps’ plays in the distance daily on our jobsites. For generations, we know friends and families will come to pay their respect and we build every job with that in mind. Each cemetery is built to National Shrine Standards with the intent to stand the ultimate test of time. While these heroes’ souls may have moved on, we want to make sure that their bodies will rest easy in a place of beauty and care,” stated Reibling.

He later continued, “This Military Appreciation Month, we would like to give a big thank you to all who have served and continue to serve. Your selfless service allows us to do what we do, and allows our country to continue to be the greatest nation on Earth.”

Tuscaloosa County native and retired Navy Commander Lee Allen Hallman bravely served our country for more than 32 years, of which 28 years and six months were active duty.

After expediting his high school graduation so that he could enlist early, Commander Hallman began his recruit training at Great Lakes, Illinois and was later positioned on Okinawa for the anticipated invasion of Japan towards the end of World War II. During the Korean War, he was deployed to the Western Pacific and was eventually assigned to the Washington, D.C. area, San Diego, Puerto Rico, Australia, Vietnam, Italy and Morocco.

When asked about his service in the Navy, Hallman responded, “I grew up wanting to learn and to be helpful and productive. That’s what I have always strived to do – from being the salutatorian of my high school graduating class to serving as a Radioman on the USS Attala during the middle of a typhoon to working as the Executive Officer of the Naval Communication Station Morocco.”

Following his return home to Alabama in 1977, he has remained active in the community and state. He went on to attend the University of Alabama to receive his Bachelor’s Degree and later his Master’s Degree at the age of 85. After retirement, he worked as the License Commissioner for Tuscaloosa County from 1983-2005 and subsequently, went on to work on several projects including the memorial on McFarland Boulevard at University Mall, the USS Alabama Memorial Park in Mobile and many others.

Secretary Merrill greatly appreciates the continued service of our military members and asks that you take the time to thank those you encounter.