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Stallcup highly ranks Madison’s safety, education

Mike Stallcup applies his engineering skills on the Space Launch System (SLS) at NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. CONTRIBUTED
Mike Stallcup applies his engineering skills on the Space Launch System (SLS) at NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Michael ‘Mike’ Stallcup remembers Madison when it was more of a small hamlet than a thriving, growing city.

Stallcup believes Madison is “one of the safer places to live. When our daughters were growing up and riding their bikes around town, I never felt they were in danger. When there were early signs of gang activity, the community (police, schools, etc.) worked together to fight it before it got started.”

“We have a highly educated community that has developed an excellent school system,” he said. He is encouraged by activities downtown, like car shows and Madison Gazebo Concerts, that bring the community together more.

“The recent food truck rallies (that I really enjoy) are reminiscent of the Madison Street Festival in its early years where we had local vendors and Madison residents involved,” Stallcup said.

Madison is much smaller than his hometown of Albuquerque, N.M. When NASA hired him in 1983, Albuquerque’s population was 500,000, while Madison had about 4,500 residents. “You couldn’t go into a store in Madison without meeting somebody you knew,” Stallcup said.

“We bought most hardware items we needed to set up house at Hughes Hardware on the corner of Church and Main Street, in the building that now houses Old Black Bear Brewery. I really enjoyed shopping at Hughes Hardware because the people knew you by name. They had a little bit of everything, similar to Lewter’s Hardware in Huntsville. You didn’t have to buy a box of 25 screws if you only needed four,” he said.

Despite massive growth, Madison has retained its small-town feeling, Stallcup said. “It’s been interesting to watch the city grow.”

He enjoys eating at Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant, Old Black Bear, Greenbrier Restaurant and Cracker Barrel.

Mike and wife Jill have two daughters, Katie and Laura, who also live in the Madison area. Mike works at Marshall Space Flight Center on the new Space Launch System (SLS).

“I enjoy Jimmy Buffett and similar artists who have the attitude that we should enjoy each day since we never know when things are going to change,” Mike said.

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