Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Alabama

Did you know Alabama celebrated its 193rd birthday on December 14, 2012?

First Lady Dianne Bentley joined with two schools and the Department of Archives to celebrate this day in our state's history and to wish Alabama, Happy Birthday!

Thanks to volunteers and the staff at the Archives, students were able to tour the building and participate in several different crafts; one craft allowed students to make their own Alabama flag. During her visit, Mrs. Bentley stopped to view the first constitution of Alabama which is only on display one day a year and she got to hear the story of its making from the director, Steve Murray.

It was a special day that opened up with song and the slicing of cake. Mrs. Bentley hopes to be a part of this tradition every year she can.

Christmas Open House Tours: December 17

The last night of Christmas Open House tours attracted a large crowd of people from across the state of Alabama. This week Mansion guests were greeted by the Chilton County Queens at the door with the Alabama Singing Women on the staircase in the foyer. The joy of Christmas was contagious and many children came to find their ornaments in the John Blue Hill House.

Thank you to everyone who came to visit, helped to decorate, or participated in the tours. We are blessed to have your support and wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Open House Tours: December 10

The second night of Christmas Open House Tours went very well despite the afternoon thunderstorms. The crowds were greeted at the Mansion doors by the Sweedish Fest Queens and were able to enjoy a musical performance by the UMS Wright Choir. Next door in the John Blue Hill House, Brewton Elementary School Choir sang carols as people studied all of the handmade ornaments sent in by Alabama students.

The Governor's Mansion Gift Shop was also in the spirit of Christmas with refreshments and samples of Alabama made products.

The last night of Christmas Open House tours is on Monday, December 17 from 5-7PM. We hope that everyone interested will make an effort to attend.



Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bentley Uses First Lady Platform to Serve Others

By Sarah Hannah

TUSCALOOSA – Faith, family and service are all important to Dianne Bentley, who has embraced her role as First Lady of Alabama and uses her platform to make a difference in the lives of the people of her state and especially of those in her hometown of Tuscaloosa.

            “If someone had told me that one day I would be first lady, I would have laughed,” Bentley said.

            Bentley attended Lanier High School, just a block away from the Governor’s Mansion where she now resides. While attending the University of Alabama, Bentley was introduced to her now-husband, Robert. They were married in July 1965, changing her role from a bacteriologist to a wife and, eventually, a mother.

            However, she was not prepared for taking on a newer and greater role as first lady of Alabama when her husband announced and then won the gubernatorial candidacy.

            “Even after the election, it took time to settle in my new role, and I try to view it as an opportunity each day,” Bentley said.

            While Bentley has had to adjust to life in her role as first lady and the many changes it has brought, she tries to live as normal of a life as possible. Normal, however, is not a word that those working with and around her would use to describe her.

            “Mrs. Bentley is a fine first lady to work with,” said Taylor Vice, director of constituent affairs. “She has a servant’s heart, which has fallen down upon not only those that work with her and know her, but people across the state. Caring, compassion and her faith are just a few of her wonderful attributes.”

            Bentley’s attributes have served her well in her role as first lady, providing an example to the people in the state about how they should respond to others and their needs, especially after the disaster of the tornadoes in April of 2011.

            Bentley watched helplessly as her hometown of Tuscaloosa was ripped apart and devastated by the tornadoes. She was frantic when she was unable to contact her family to make sure they were safe, a sentiment shared by many others at the time.

To combat communication problems faced after the tornado, the first lady is partnering with the Safe America program to raise awareness of what happened, to inform people on how they will be able to best communicate with loved ones, and to develop preparedness plans for future emergency situations that may arise.

            The tornado was not Bentley’s only shining moment of service. As a member of a quilting guild in Tuscaloosa, Bentley and fellow members were able to turn their hobby of quilting into a way to serve others. After reading an article about “ugly quilts,” quilts made of the leftover strips of fabric that no one wanted to use, the members of the guild were inspired to make their own “ugly quilts” and distributed them to the homeless of Tuscaloosa.

            After she and her husband serve their term in office and return to Tuscaloosa, Bentley plans to not only resume her role as a wife, mother and grandmother, but to also return to teaching Sunday school at her church, facilitating a Bible study and working with her quilter’s guild.

            “My guild is always working on a service project,” Bentley said, “so although I will not be First Lady, I hope to still be making a difference in the community. My goal is to be remembered for my faith and commitment to God.”

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Open House Tours: December 3

Thank you to everyone who helped make the first night of Christmas Open House tours a success. The Peach Queens greeted each guest upon entering the Mansion as the Montgomery Youth Chorale sang carols on the main staircase in the foyer. Next door, at the John Blue Hill House, the Weatherly Women's Chorus from Huntsville entertained everyone with festive songs.
The next open house tour will feature more choral groups and will begin at 5:00PM on December 10. Come out and view each room, each person has their own personal favorite.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tribute to the Children of Alabama

Each ornament on display in the John Blue Hill House has been handcrafted by students from the state of Alabama. We would like to say a special thanks to the teachers, faculty, and students who helped make this possible. Your creativity, imagination, and personal tributes to our state speak volumes. We received ornaments from children staring in preschool and ranging to high school, from schools in the north of Alabama spanning to schools in the south. Each ornament is unique and showcases the special children who call Alabama home.

Christmas Open House Tours

MONTGOMERY – Governor and Mrs. Robert Bentley announced Friday the Governor’s Mansion will be open to members of the public for Christmas Open House tours from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, December 3; Monday, December 10; and Monday, December 17.

Decorators from across the state have volunteered their time to adorn the Governor’s Mansion and the neighboring Hill House in Christmas splendor for the tours.

“The Governor’s Mansion belongs to the people of Alabama, and we want to share it with them during this wonderful Christmas season,” First Lady Dianne Bentley said.

Patricia “Sister” Schubert will sign copies of the new Alabama Tourism Department book Alabama Food at the tour on Monday, December 3. Other signings of Alabama Food by contributing editors Brian S. Jones and Marilyn Jones Stamps will take place on December 10 and 17.

Tickets for the tours are available free of charge at the Governor’s Mansion gift shop prior to the tours each day. The Governor’s Mansion gift shop is located at 30 Finley Avenue, across the street from the side entrance of the mansion.

The Governor’s Mansion is a 1907 Colonial Revival house located at 1142 South Perry Street in Montgomery and has served as the official residence for governors of Alabama since 1951. The neighboring Hill House became part of the Governor’s Mansion complex in 2003 and will also be open for the tours.