By Leslie M. Hernandez
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS – Tucked back in the woods just off Comanche Gap Road is a wooden bridge that leads to a clearing where the latest Medicine Man was chosen.
While Comanche Gap is a historic site in Bell County, those who gathered on Saturday are all modern-day, civic-minded men. Listed as a stag event, no women were present for the celebration, though host Bill Alford said his wife baked more than 20 cakes for the event as she does every year.
On the first Saturday every May a barbecue is held and 150 to 200 members of the community come out to eat, socialize and present the Medicine Man Award. Some attendees came from as far away as Alaska, Georgia and Alabama.
Alford described the recipient of the award, Al "Doc" Wilson, as the hardest working, most dedicated person he knows.
"He's always behind the scenes," Alford said. "If there is something that needs to be done and he sees it, suddenly it's done and you wonder who did it."
Wilson, 67, is the athletic trainer at Killeen High School where he has been employed for 45 years. He also taught driver's education, physical education, general business and was a volunteer fire fighter in Killeen for 20 years. He graduated from Howard Payne University in Brownwood.
Other awards Wilson has received include being inducted into the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association in 1988 and the National Athletic Trainers Association in 1989. Wilson also received a Certificate of Merit from the Red Cross for successfully performing CPR.
When Wilson's name was announced as the latest Medicine Man award winner, he shyly come forward to receive the Medicine Man plaque and the felt cowboy hat with colorful feathered hat band and a turkey feather to mark his first year as Medicine Man.
Every subsequent year that Wilson attends the event he will receive another turkey feather to mark his attendence.
Wilson said he was honored to be recognized by his contemporaries.
"Just look at the people around here," Wilson said as he swept his hand around the gathered crowd. "I never thought this would happen. I never do these things for gain."
Contact Leslie M. Hernandez at email@example.com