News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2007

Limestone captain to be grand marshal

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — A man who used to walk the woods looking for marijuana will take to the streets in a parade Saturday.

Sheriff's Capt. Johnny McDonald will be the grand marshal for the Limestone Sheriff's Rodeo.

McDonald has worked for the department since 1982. When Sheriff Mike Blakely took office in 1983, he put McDonald over marijuana eradication. At that time, growers cultivated large plots of land for dope. Without the aid of air surveillance, McDonald walked miles through the woods to find and destroy plants.

McDonald has served as patrol officer, drug investigator and patrol captain. Blakely credits McDonald with helping make his annual rodeo a success, thereby helping the department. Rodeo funds go for needs such as new patrol cars.

McDonald and his wife, Betty, have one daughter and two granddaughters who get tractor rides from him on his farm at Lester.

Blakely called McDonald Mr. Dependable and said he has served the department and community for three decades. Blakely said McDonald announced plans to retire this year, so he wanted to honor him as the grand marshal.

The parade will start at the Sheriff's Rodeo Arena on Alabama 99, go around the Athens square and back to the arena.

It starts at 1 p.m.

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