COFFEE COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — A trailblazer in civil rights here in the Wiregrass has passed away.

For more than two decades, Bernest Brooks served as Coffee County District 5 commissioner. Brooks is one of the first Black officials in the Wiregrass to be elected countywide.

In the 1980s, the federal courts created the predominantly minority district which stretches across Elba, New Brockton, and into Enterprise.

The Coffee County native served as a U.S. Marine during World War II and was involved in liberating several islands in the South Pacific from Japanese occupation.

Enterprise native, Jimmy Jones, succeeded Brooks on the commission ten years ago. Jones remembers Brooks as a champion for his constituents.

From 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday morning, visitation for Bernest Brooks will be at Open Door Baptist Church on Rucker Boulevard in Enterprise.

The funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. at the church.