Wes Kitchens announced that he is leaving his job as president of the Arab Chamber of Commerce.
Kitchens was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in November and simply felt he could not devote the time to the chamber that it deserves.
Kitchens will be going to work at Holloway-Hunt Insurance LLC in Arab.
Arab Chamber of Commerce board of directors chairman Tim Maze said that, while the board is disappointed to see Kitchens leave, they are excited for him and his new opportunities.
“We are excited for Wes and the fact he will still be involved in the business community in Arab as well as representing all of District 27 in Montgomery,” Maze said. “The chamber has witnessed a healthy growth during his tenure with us and we are positive the things he has put in place will continue to have a lasting impact on Arab.”
Kitchens was hired as the chamber president four years ago. At that time, he was director of basketball operations for the University of Denver.
Previously he was the video coordinator for Auburn University. He is a 2011 graduate of Auburn University and a 2007 graduate of Arab High School.
He is he son of Brad and Jan Smalley Kitchens of Arab.
“I feel that the chamber has made great strides in the four years I’ve been there,” Kitchens said. “Financially, we’ve been very conservative and built a nest egg for the chamber. That’s one of the reasons we were able to do a renovation on the chamber building recently.”
Kitchens said he is proud of the work the chamber did on workforce development, and he plans to continue working in that area as a legislator.
“We are getting people the skills they need to fill the jobs in our area, and I hope that continues to grow as a program,” he said.
Another area he is proud of is growth in the chamber.
“Membership has grown and the growth has been steady,” Kitchens said. “We were able to get new members and, some of them were businesses that were in town for years but had never joined.”
Kitchens said he plans to be a business advocate while in the legislature, which is akin to being chamber president.
“I know the struggles that businesses have and I want to help with that statewide,” he said. “I’ll also be an advocate for chambers of commerce across the state. I want to help them as well.”
Kitchens said he appreciates the chamber board for hiring him four years ago.
“I really appreciate the confidence they had in me,” he said. “The chamber board is a hard-working board and anything we needed, we knew we could go to the board and get things done.”
The following is part of the text of Kitchens’ resignation letter to the chamber board of directors:
“While this decision is not easy, I feel that with my new duties and additional time commitments this is in the best interest for the chamber and me personally. I want to thank each of you for your support over the last four years.
“You believed in me and gave me the opportunity to give back to the community I love and for that I will be forever grateful. I said during my interview that no matter what happens in the future, I plan on being part of Arab and the chamber for years to come. That remains true today.
“I will continue with the chamber during the transition period and will assist any way I can. Again, thank you for the opportunity to serve our community and putting your trust in me.”
Morgan Denson of Boaz graduated from the registered nursing program at Gadsden State Community College’s Division of Health Sciences. The school recently held a fall pinning ceremony for graduates of the Cherokee Registered Nursing program.
“Sweet Home Sextuplets,” the TLC TV show that follows Courtney and Eric Waldrop and their 6 babies, has been renewed for a second season, the network announced.
The sextuplets are one-year-old now. They are Rayne, Layke, Rivers, Tag, Blu, and Rawlings. They have 3 older brothers.
“Our journey has been absolutely incredible. We have been blessed beyond measure. We had six healthy babies and they are perfect in every way and God truly answered every prayer. It’s been a miracle,” Courtney said in a recent interview.
The sextuplets made headlines when they were delivered at Huntsville Hospital and part of their TV show was filmed at the hospital. The first season, which premiered in September, followed the Waldrops' life-changing journey every step of the way, from Courtney’s high-risk pregnancy to the births and how they adjust to becoming a family of 11, WAFF reported.
The sextuplets have three older brothers- twins Wales and Bridge, 6, and Saylor, 9.
“It’s a blessing to be able to share our story with the world. It’s an amazing story. The Lord has brought us through so much. We’re just excited to tell about it and hopefully someone else can be blessed through our story,” Courtney said.
The babies were delivered at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children on Dec. 11, 2017. Dr. David Rushing, of the Clinic For Women, delivered the sextuplets by Cesarean section with help from a team of about 40 labor and delivery nurses, neonatologists, anesthesiologists, maternal fetal medicine specialists and surgical assistants.
The fraternal sextuplets – three boys and three girls – ranged in weight from 2 pounds, 4 ounces to 2 pounds, 14 ounces. They spent several weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) before going home to Albertville.
Sextuplets are exceedingly rare. It was the first sextuplet delivery in the history of Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children, the first sextuplet birth in Alabama since 2011, and the first time sextuplets were born in the state outside of Birmingham.
Courtney and Eric, childhood sweethearts, had been trying for one more sibling for their three boys when they found out that they were expecting six babies. Courtney is a school teacher, but she had to leave work during her pregnancy with the sextuplets. Eric owns a landscape company.
The show started with Courtney at 25-weeks pregnant and already on strict bed rest and hospital crews planning for the delivery.
It also touches on the gender reveal and the babies’ arrival at the hospital. Camera crews then follow the family home to Albertville as the family adjusts to a new norm, using 70 diapers a day and the need for round-the-clock care and feedings, along with keeping with up with their three other children.
“We aren’t just home with just six babies. We have three older boys. We’re constantly on the go,” Courtney said.
With the new season around the corner, the Waldrops are looking forward to sharing how their six little ones have developed, TLC said.
“Each baby is growing by leaps and bounds and developing six unique personalities,” the couple explained. “It’s becoming real that we have nine kids all going in different directions!”