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Prayers for servicemen to become part of church repertoire

By By Lindsey Sherrill
As Co. A of the 711 Signal Battalion Army National Guard ships out of Atmore, one local church is stepping up for the community left behind.
West End Baptist Church will begin holding a special prayer time the first Sunday of each month in honor of the company. The idea began with Pastor Woody Alison, who has pastored at West End for the past 39 years. He came up with the idea to hold the special prayer services after hearing that two young men who had been raised at West End were leaving with the 711th.
"When I found out they were leaving I put up two patriotic ribbons on the front door and two on the inside and had the boys autograph them," Alison said.
"I told them the ribbons would stay there until they each came back and took their bow down themselves."
Alison points out that the services are for any members of the community who wish to take part.
"There will be no singing, no preaching, no fellowship, just a time for anyone who wants to come and pray and leave when they are done. This is not just something for our church, but also for the public. For any one who has a loved one or friend in the 711 or is just concerned, it's open. The church is concerned and wants to get more people thinking about how serious this really is."
West End is at 100 West End Drive in Atmore. The prayer service will be held 6 – 7 p.m. the first Sunday of each month, and the pastor and congregation invite everyone.
"I think a lot of people need a reminder that those boys put their lives on the line for us and their country," Alison said. "The least we can do is pray for them."