As we prepare to celebrate Veterans from all wars this weekend, one recent event stands out for me. In December of 2011, Fairhope’s National Guard 1165th Police Company was returning from active duty in Afghanistan. They finally arrived safely in the U.S. and were sent to Hattiesburg, Mississippi for processing . . . so close to home, yet not home at all.
The 170 soldiers and their families were heartbroken to realize they would have to spend another Christmas apart. Everyone in Fairhope was frustrated and saddened by this unfortunate delay, but it seemed there was nothing to do but wait.
But as often happens in times of sorrow, someone with a good heart stepped forward to help. Fairhope residents Melinda and Louis Mapp, quickly intervened with their common sense and kindness. Through their generosity, the Mapps decided to hire private busses to retrieve the soldiers in Hattiesburg and deliver them home into the arms of their loved ones for Christmas Day.
Crowds of Fairhope citizens lined the streets waving flags and cheering for their returning heroes. I can’t recall another time of so much happiness and emotion as the day the busses came rolling into town. The Mapps gave an immediate answer to a problem, but they also gave a great example of humble service that will last for years to come.
We are so very thankful to all our Veterans and want to salute them for their heroic service to our Country.
The Fairhope Veteran’s Day Parade will be held Saturday at 10am, beginning and ending at the Civic Center.
Wherever you are, I’m sure your community will have its own way of honoring our Veterans. Make sure you support them with a big “Thank You” from all of us!
My friends at Spark Imaging captured these never before seen photos of that wonderful day.
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