From Clouds to Classroom to Civil Service

by | Jun 2024

FROM THE chilly East Coast to the balmy Southwest to countries thousands of miles away — such as Germany, Iraq, South Korea, Italy, and Kyrgyzstan — Todd Alcott dutifully served his country in the United States Air Force. For over two decades, he climbed the chain of command until he reached lieutenant colonel. At the time of his retirement, he was on the Air Staff at the Pentagon as the chief of resilience. His wife, Deb, who taught grades K-5 wherever they temporarily settled, packed their belongings and adapted to each new assignment along with the Alcott’s son, Jacob. 

Though the trio experienced international cuisine, heard different languages and dialects, and witnessed breathtaking scenery across the globe, to the Alcott family, there was no place like home. So, in 2016, they returned to Bowling Green. Todd currently serves as mayor and has been the Junior ROTC (JROTC) teacher at Warren East High School for the last eight years, while Deb is a multilingual learner teacher at Bowling Green High School. Jacob graduated from Purdue University with a degree in computer science and is engaged to be married. 

Todd’s mother, Elaine Alcott, had been a fifth grade teacher at Alvaton Elementary School but joined him at Rich Pond Elementary School when he entered sixth grade. Even as a child, he heavily involved himself in the community through the Warren County 4-H, the Royal Ambassadors at Rich Pond Baptist Church, and his youth group. He graduated from Warren Central High School before attending Western Kentucky University (WKU), where he was a third-generation graduate. While at WKU, he met and later married Deb. 

Todd’s dad, Fred Alcott, had been a naval helicopter pilot, so Todd grew up hearing endless stories of military service.

“I loved listening to my dad talking about being a naval helicopter pilot and flying on and off an aircraft carrier. I remember, my sophomore year at WKU, we had the Air Force Thunderbirds come to Bowling Green for an air show. I couldn’t get enough of it, so I went to the Downing Center to hear the pilots talk, and during classes, I heard them zooming over the campus. Someone I knew was wearing a [U.S. Air Force] uniform underneath a C-130 aircraft. He told me I could train to be an officer while attending WKU. He invited me to Tennessee State University in Nashville to visit their JROTC program. After a lot of studying to take the qualifying test, I took an oath to become a cadet, and two years later, I took my oath to become a second lieutenant for the [United States Air Force].”

During his service, Todd served four combat support command tours and was selected as a squadron commander three times. He also served as the chief of Air Force lodging for over 31,000 hotel rooms and was the chief of personnel for the joint force Operation Security & Cooperation in Baghdad, Iraq, as well as at the U.S. Embassy.

“For me, I liked the idea of serving because of Dad’s stories. But I don’t think I truly understood yet. When September 11, 2001, happened, I was a captain and knew I was in the right place. I felt like I was our global ambassador for Bowling Green because I was proud to tell people I grew up where Corvettes are made. As far as serving, I’ve never met a person who regretted it. I’ve only met people that regret not serving. There are many ways of serving — civil service, enlisted, officer. It takes us all.”

In everything Todd has accomplished so far, the welfare of others has continuously been his motivation, and his role as mayor has proved no different.

“We increased the pay of our public servants, police, and firefighters and built our third fire station in three years. We’re building a new police and fire academy on Porter Pike, and we’ve added an amnesty baby box that’s been used twice. We’re working to build government support for local nonprofits to help our homeless population, such as the center we are renovating with the Salvation Army. 

“Our city invested $2 million of American Relief Protection Act funds to build showers, restrooms, laundry, and a collaborative walk-in center to provide the first step toward helping themselves. The overwhelming response we received after the tornadoes in December 2020, working to build and find options for affordable housing, creating an entertainment district downtown, and working to create and establish a new park on the Barren River waterfront — all of these are the things I’m most proud of.” GN 

More Good News

An Expert in Filing

An Expert in Filing

FORMS AND paperwork can be daunting even on the best days — especially when so many forms are important to fill out correctly. That is the struggle of many veterans as they work to file for benefits...

read more
Shaping Lives and Futures

Shaping Lives and Futures

SITTING ACROSS from Marc Hamilton, the Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) program director at Western Kentucky University (WKU), his demeanor was a blend of reserved pride and the kind of approachability...

read more
Fireworks, Flavor, and Family

Fireworks, Flavor, and Family

WHAT BETTER time to indulge in the ultimate celebration of all things American: backyard barbecues, July Fourth festivities, and the comforting flavors of home? Let’s salute the classic dishes that...

read more
BiG Local Club & BiG Local Fest

BiG Local Club & BiG Local Fest

NAVIGATING THE ins and outs of launching a successful business and building a recognizable brand is a daunting task. Most entrepreneurs would rather invest valuable time in creating the finest...

read more
Alumni Helping Alumni

Alumni Helping Alumni

“WE ARE stronger together” has become a motto used to encourage individuals to band together to accomplish a greater good for the entire community. In keeping with this growing momentum across the...

read more
In Other News

In Other News

Bowling Green Recognizes New Citizens The city of Bowling Green celebrated the country’s new citizens during its annual Reception for New Americans Sept. 14 at the Sloan Convention Center. The city...

read more
In Other News

“In Other News.”

Breast Cancer Detection App Created by Western Kentucky University Alumna. IN 2003, while taking a shower, Jessica Baladad noticed a lump in her breast, which led to its removal, and she began...

read more
Letter From the Editor: Saluting Our Local Heroes

Letter From the Editor: Selfess

THE MERRIAM-WEBSTER dictionary defines the word selfless as “someone who has no concern for self, or unselfish.” As the world keeps turning, it may feel like selfless people are few and far between....

read more
Faith – ‘Just as you are’

Faith – ‘Just as you are’

FOR OVER 30 years, children’s television host Mister Rogers came into the homes of millions via our television sets and told each of us one of the most important things a person could say to...

read more