The ceremony, sponsored by the Sumiton-Area Veterans Board, began outside the Sumiton Community Center with an opening prayer, the national anthem and laying of the wreath at the city’s veteran’s monument as a tribute to those who served.
The ceremony moved inside for refreshments, and patriotic videos played on a large television while attendees ate. There were also displays of various area veterans set up in the community center.
There was also a time to pay tribute to Fletcher Spears, a veteran and member of the Walker County Honor Guard. Several in attendance shared memories of Spears, but many of the stories of faith and friendship came from Sumiton Police Chief T.J. Burnett.
Burnett talked about how Spears would always be an advocate for veterans, especially those young men who returned from combat in the Middle East and found it difficult to reacclimate. When those men would find themselves in trouble with the police, Burnett said Spears would always be there to listen to them and try to help steer them back onto the right path.
Burnett also talked about Spears’ faith and how dedicated Spears was to preaching that faith whenever and wherever he could.
“He would preach, even if you had to roll him in somewhere, he would still preach,” Burnett remembered of his ailing friend, who died just a few weeks ago.
He also recognized Spear’s sister and other family members who attended the ceremony. Spears was honored last year and the Veteran’s Day event and at a flag retirement ceremony.