J. Brackin Kirkland(Date unknown)

J. Brackin Kirkland*

Story By Paul Strobel('43)

Opportunities for work seemed always to be plentiful at SII and the variety of tasks knew no boundaries. One of the tasks assigned to us occasionally was duty in the print shop.

The print shop was a small building and it was located where the medical facility now stands. After the print shop was done away with, a building was constructed which became the residence of Vera Orr, secretary to Dr. Ward. That building is now the medical facility.

Working in the print shop was a duty enjoyed by most of us. Of course, it was a small operation and the gentleman who operated it came in only once in awhile as needed. We set the type by hand. I became aware of the degree to which my spelling had improved during this period. I could not help but make improvements; the print shop operator had a very quick eye and an oral response equally as fast.

One day I carried a large supply of newly printed letters to Mr. Kirkland to be signed and mailed. I was instructed to wait while Mr. Kirkland signed these letters. I remember being disappointed at having to wait because I had planned to go to the gym to play basketball.

I asked Mr. Kirkland why he couldn't use a rubber stamp to apply a facsimile of his signature and I attempted to support my suggestion with the idea of saving time. Mr. Kirkland looked straight at me for a moment and then taught me a lesson which I have always remembered. His reply was that if people thought enough of the letters to take time to read them, the least he could do was personally sign them. The lesson translated into an old saying, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right." Perhaps my analogy seems obfuscated, but at that age Plato and I were not conversing.

Mr. Kirkland came to SII from Boys Club of America where he served as an executive. He was a tall, wiry individual who's motions telegraphed strength and the agility of an athlete. I always imagined these physical characteristics were the result of his years on the rowing team when he was in school. On Saturdays you could usually see him wearing his leather work gloves and performing manual labor around the school grounds. Removing stumps was one of his specialties. Setting examples for young people was another.......

*Photograph from -
"Their Country's Pride"
The Centennial History of L. W. M. A.
by Jerri Beck
Page 91
Copyright 1997 - LWMA Board of Trustees
Camp Hill, Alabama

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