You can come home again

Published 12:32 pm Monday, July 25, 2005

By By Tim Cottrell
Atmore-area residents will have a special treat Sunday.
McCullough Christian Center will host the McNeil Family Reunion Sunday with services at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. One member of the McNeil family is former Escambia County High School great Don McNeil.
McNeil, who went on to star at Alabama in the late 1970s under coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and then played 10 seasons in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins, will deliver a message during the evening service. McNeil won two national championships with Alabama and participated in two Super Bowls (XVII and XIX) with the Dolphins. He served under the former winningest coach in college football and the winningest coach in the NFL.
McNeil said he was happy to be home.
"I try to get here once or twice a year," he said from his sister's home in McCullough, Friday morning. "This is the place I grew up. Sometimes I come just to see my family. We have a family reunion today, Saturday, and Sunday."
Several of McNeil's 10 siblings were on hand Friday for the interview.
"We have three ministers in the family," Eula McNeil Davis, Don's sister, said. "One will bring the message and we'll have singing and solos from the family."
"We're a very talented family," Don laughed. "Everyone can sing, except me. I can't sing."
Another of Don's siblings, Carol Otis, said that she was just excited to have the opportunity to spend time with her family.
"This is a homecoming for all the McNeil siblings," Otis said. "All 11 of us. We all moved away, this is just a nice homecoming for us. We're all alive and well, none of us are on drugs, none of us are in jail."
"Our daddy, Henry McNeil, Sr., did a good job raising us," said Davis.
Another McNeil sibling, Moses, agreed.
"We plowed 10 acres with one mule," he said. "He worked hard. But this will be a good opportunity for all of us to get together and reminisce."
The Advance will be on hand Sunday evening for the McNeil Family Reunion at McCullough Christian Center.

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