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Why I Love Franklin County: Jeremy Willis

FRANKLIN LIVING—Jeremy Willis is a familiar fixture at Russellville High School as the director of the Marching Hundred band, as well as the concert and pep bands for RHS. A 1999 Russellville grad, Willis earned his bachelor’s degree in music education and French horn from the University of North Alabama, where he was the French horn/mellophone section leader and historian and vice president of Kappa Kappa Psi. He and his wife Jennifer, who is children’s ministry coordinator at First Baptist Church of Russellville and a substitute teacher for Russellville City Schools, have three children, daughters Madi and Avery and son Eli.

  1. What do you enjoy about your role as RHS band director?

I moved around a lot when I was growing up because my dad was in the Navy. My family is from here, and I was lucky enough to end up here for high school. Band was where I fit in, and I thought I could do this for a living. The best part of my job usually doesn’t happen while my students are in high school but when they’ve been out of school for a while; they will tell me how much band meant to them or how much it helped them. I get to teach students how to be decent human beings through music. It’s a pretty cool gig.

2. What is your favorite place to visit in Franklin County? 

I have two must-see Franklin County views, and they are both in Russellville. The first is, when you are leaving Walmart on Cross Street at night, if you look to your left after you top the second hill, you can see all the street lights in downtown Russellville. The second: if you are going to Highway 24 from Lawrence Street at dawn or dusk, when you approach the stop sign, you can see a valley of trees with a colorful sky backdrop.

3. What are your favorite Franklin County restaurants, and what do you like about them?

El Patron has the best salsa, and Doe’s Eat place has the best steak I have had at any restaurant ever.

4. Why do you love Franklin County?

I have lived all over the South, and I have never felt at home anywhere except in Franklin County. I would say we have the best community in Alabama.

Fast Five

  1. Favorite hobby: Disc golf
  2. Favorite food: Ribeye steak
  3. Goal or ambition: To leave this world better than I found it
  4. Church: First Baptist Russellville
  5. Something people might not know about me is: I am currently trying to grow a “yeard,” or my beard for a year with minimal trimming. I’d like to enter beard competitions and see if my mustache has a terminal length.