The people living in Alabama’s nursing homes played important roles in building the communities we call home. They worked hard, raised their family and gave of their time and treasure. They’re rarely recognized for the difference they made in countless lives. That’s why what recently happened at one nursing home is worth celebrating.

The story begins more than 200 years ago when Dr. Stanley Michael “Doc” Mahan’s ancestors settled in the Bibb County community of Brierfield. The incorporated area is located near Alabama Highway 139. After college, Dr. Mahan moved home to establish his dental practice along Highway 139 near its intersection with Mahan Creek. For 50 years, he faithfully served Brierfield, Montevallo and the surrounding area before retiring to his current home at Shelby Ridge Rehab Select in Alabaster.

Dr. Mahan with Shelby Ridge Rehab Select nurses Sherry Dickerson, Dana Layton and Katrina Cameron.

Not wanting his contributions to go unnoticed, Governor Kay Ivey named the bridge that runs above Mahan Creek on Highway 139 the “Mike ‘Doc’ Mahan Bridge.” On May 8, Senator Cam Ward and Representative April Weaver presented Dr. Mahan with commemorative plaques signed by Gov. Ivey at a ceremony hosted by Shelby Ridge Rehab Select.

A teary Dr. Mahan accepted his awards in front of his family, his former dental staff and his caregivers at Shelby Ridge. He reminisced about his time serving the community in many different capacities and thanked his wife, Linda, for all her support throughout the years.

Dr. Mahan earned undergraduate degrees from Auburn University and the University of Montevallo. In 1966, he received his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Alabama. In addition to his dental practice, Dr. Mahan served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Alabama and the University of Montevallo. He was a member of several dentistry honor societies, local fire departments and the First United Methodist Church of Montevallo.

“Dr. Mahan has been an instrumental part of the fabric of Shelby County’s history,” Shelby Ridge Administrator Roderick Watkins said. “We are happy to be just a small part of honoring his legacy.”

If you drive scenic Highway 139 through Brierfield and pass over the “Mike ‘Doc’ Mahan Bridge,” take a moment to remember the men and women living in Alabama’s nursing homes and how they have made a difference in our state.