National Aumni SocietyName: Martin L. Habel
Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): (1) B.S. Biology 1968 Stetson University,M.S. Zoology 1970 Auburn University, B.S. Physiological Optics 1976 UAB, O.D. Optometry 1978 UAB
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Current town: Rainsville, Alabama
Current employer and job: Self Employed; Optometrist – general practice
What is your favorite UAB memory? Class of 1978 Halloween costume parties
How has UAB impacted your life? It has totally changed my life by providing me an education that has allowed me to serve people and work for myself at the same time. It has given me a way to make a difference in peoples’ lives.
What made you choose your current profession? I was looking for a profession in healthcare. I met a man named Dr. Edgar Warr. He was the president of the Alabama Board of Optometry. UAB had newly opened a School of Optometry in the medical center. Dr Warr mentored me and encouraged me to apply. I shadowed him on my day off at his office in Elba, Al for 6 months and then made application. Thirty two years later I became the president of the Alabama Board of Optometry.
What lessons has your professional life taught you? You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. But, you cannot please all of the people all of the time.
What would you do if you were given more time in each day? I would spend more time with my family and in worship.
What invention have you seen in your lifetime that you believe has been the most important? Professional: The development of the current technology used in cataract surgery and the OCT. Lifestyle: The development of computer technology.
If you could have 3 wishes, what would they be? (1) That people would love their neighbors as much as they love themselves, (2) That people would love God above all else, (3) That disease and suffering could be abolished.
If you could go back to any age…which age and why? I would go back to age 32. I had finished my education. I was newly married. I had no major financial obligations. I was beginning my career in serving peoples’ needs in health/vision care. I had finished soldiering and the obligation of fighting wars for my country. I was a relatively new Christian. I was in good health.
Which historical figure do you most identify with and why? Saul of Tarsus (Paul) I was self sufficient, self confident, presumptuous, narrow minded, and a non-believer of Christianity. While fighting in the Vietnam War circumstances caused me to be broken physically and emotionally. Jesus restored me into a new and different person.
If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? World peace. Strife, prejudice, hatred, conflict and war paralyze the world’s ability to work together for the common good and the advance of knowledge and social well being. They most commonly create pain and suffering.
What natural gift would you most like to possess? Love of fellow man.
What trait(s) do you most value in your friends?
(1) Love of fellow man
(2) A forgiving spirit
(5) Truthfulness and justice
(6) They seek wisdom
(8) They take action when action is needed
(9) They take responsibility for their actions
(10) They are persistent toward their goals
(11) They choose to be happy
(12) Honor and great integrity
Who would you want to portray you in a film about your life? Daniel Day Lewis, I thought his portrayal of Lincoln was tremendous.
What is your motto? Every man is a unique creation of God. Each can make a difference.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Take advantage of your opportunities.
If you could start a charity or non-profit organization, what would it be and why? I did start a charity/non- profit organization---SVOSH and VOSH- Alabama. These organization have restored vision to thousands of needy individuals and provided an educational opportunity and a service experience of great value to many.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? The Society Islands—Moorea, Huahine, Tahaa, Bora Bora better known as Tahiti. These are the places in the world that are in my experience the closest to the Garden of Eden—unsurpassed natural beauty, perfect climate, abundant food sources, and loving people.
What is something you are proud of and why? I am proud of being co-founder of SVOSH and founder of VOSH- Alabama. These organizations have and are still making a difference in thousands of peoples’ lives throughout North and South America. They have caused the greatest positive ripple or “Butterfly Effect” for good of anything I have ever done.
What is the last book you read? “The Peace Maker” by Ken Sande.
My most recommended book is: “ The Butterfly Effect” by Andy Andrews.
Student Alumni Society MemberName: David Zimmerman
Graduation Year: 2014
Hometown: Huntsville, AL
Why did you choose to attend UAB? I knew that I would receive an unparalleled education at UAB and my classes would be taught by experts in the field. Also, UABSO is directly involved with a medical center, which would allow for a more diverse inter-disciplinary education.
Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far and why? The best professors I have had a UAB are Dr. Than and Dr. Rutstein. Their teaching styles and personalities are completely different, but they both deliver the highest quality material and are leaders in their respective specialties.
What is your current state of mind? Hopeful
What do you do for fun? Spend time with my wife and four year old daughter. We like spending time outdoors at various parks and at the zoo.
Who are your heroes in real life? The US military and armed forces.
If you were given more time in each day, what would you do? Spend more time with my family.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Supersonic speed.
What are your future goals? My future goal is to be a partner in a successful practice with two to three other optometrists and or ophthalmologists. Another goal of mine is to be more involved in optometry and the community including my church and civil associations.
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be? Peter Pan or Bill Gates.
If you had a theme song, what would it be? Eye-dle: My Journey to an OD
If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? The great problems of all time like World-Peace or Medicare.