81-year-old Melvin Cooper of Prattville was named by Samford last month as the Alabama Baptist layperson of the year. He has taught Sunday School for 63 years and been an active deacon for 45 years, most recently at Montgomery’s First Baptist Church. He was the first executive director of the Alabama Ethics Commission. Nominators cited his church, denominational and community service. He also practices good stewardship, and his family’s budget records show a gift to his church on May 18, 1948 – the first Sunday after he married – of $3.50 on a weekly income of $35.

The world is better because of the faithful service of Melvin Cooper.