FULTON, Ill. — Edward Cannon spent 20 years in defending the air space around North America.
Originally from Alabama, Ed dropped out of college in the mid 1970s. After bouncing around from job to job, he spoke to a recruiter with the Air Force and decided to join. Ed became an Air Defence Radar, working in the Air Operations Center in North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
While most of his time was spent in North America, including Alaska and Canada, he also spent one year in Greenland, near the North Pole. Four months out of the year, the sky was dark. Another four months, it was continual daylight.
Retiring a month before the Sept. 11 attacks, Ed never saw any combat.
After retiring from the Air Force, Ed went to work in the private sector with construction in Alabama. Now he is the new Fulton City Administer.
“If you look at my background, it doesn’t really point me in this direction,” Ed said.
However, he said his service taught him many skills that are needed for the city administrator position. These include interpersonal relations, as well as people and management skills. His service also instilled in him a desire to make a difference.
“I enjoyed being part of something bigger than just me,” Ed said. “I thought I made a lot of impact in people’s lives. It gave me a lot of satisfaction.”
His construction career did not give him this same satisfaction, so Ed and his wife, Kristi, moved to Illinois, so he could receive his masters in public administration from Northern Illinois University. While living in St. Charles, Ill., he recently heard about the opening in Fulton.
Ed and Kristi drove to Fulton to get a feel for the community. One of the first things that drew them was the windmill. Ed remembers meeting one of the volunteer millers, with whom they visited for an hour about the attraction and the area.
“And he really set the stage for us,” Ed said. “I like the community spirit everyone has.”
After that trip, they both realized Fulton is somewhere they could live. Currently, Ed is commuting each week from St. Charles, while they look for a home.
In his free time, Ed and his wife enjoy traveling and bicycling. They also are members of the Lyric Opera Theater.