First Assembly of God church celebrates veterans

Published 4:34 am Thursday, July 5, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Making known the unknown stories of the nation's heroes was the goal of the Atmore First Assembly of God patriotic presentation.
The church hosted its 19th annual patriotic presentation during a special service Sunday morning.
According to the church's pastor, Don Davis, Sunday morning was a moving experience to both him and those in attendance.
"I think it was wonderful," Davis said. "It was one of the best presentations. There seemed to be a special anointing on it."
Davis said it was an honor to pay tribute to three special veterans, Roy Helton, Elwood Barden and Mike Grindle.
"Two of our men, Mr. Roy Helton and Mr. Elwood Barden, were WWII veterans and we are losing hundreds and hundreds of those men across the nation every day and it's always a very special privilege to be able to celebrate a Vietnam veteran because so many of those men were not appreciated when they returned from Vietnam. They were met with protests and posters and people calling them murderers. At that time our country was so divided and they forgot about the warrior. That's not to say they were not appreciated and celebrated in Alabama ,but when they returned many times in New York and California and other places they were not received well. They were greeted with protests. So, any time we can celebrate those Vietnam veterans or WWII veterans, it's always a special privilege."
Davis said Atmore First Assembly of God hosts this event each year to allow the community the opportunity to see some of the faces of Atmore's heroes.
"Our community has so many unheard stories of genuine heroes, men and women that were POWs, decorated lifesaving heroes, and men and women that gave the ultimate sacrifice, their very blood," Davis said. "Our own 711 served and represented the Atmore community with such dignity and honor. These men returned as our heroes. They let their families, their work, and gave one year of their life to secure our freedom."
It is essential to honor veterans for serving the Untied States of America, Davis said.
"It is very, very important to me as pastor," he said. "We have five of those men that were involved with the 711 and we know the pain and stress on the family. They were so willing and committed to serving and I don't know how we could not honor them. They are just great Americans that they would lay down their jobs and leave their families to help keep America free. They are not just great warriors, but great Americans."
Davis said there is a very special patriotic presentation he remembers very well.
"I remember when we honored Mr. Raymond Lancaster who was a part of the D-Day Invasion, how he brought us to tears on Sunday morning when he shared how all of his comrades were being killed around him and how frightened he was but he continued to move forward," he said. "How do you put a value, a price tag, on that type of commitment?"
Atmore First Assembly of God will continue honoring local veterans in the years to come, Davis said.
"We will host it as long as we can," Davis said. "I appreciate the wonderful part of the church family and community, the choir, the special effects, the research by the pastor's staff. We just count it a joy and a thrill to be able to recognize these special men and women and we will continue to do it as long as the Lord enables us to do it."

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox