News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

One sure sign there'll be a disaster

As Hurricane Dennis bore down on the Gulf Coast, Henry Caldwell of Niceville, Fla., told his family in Decatur he did not plan to evacuate.

The only thing that might persuade him, he said, would be an appearance by Jim Cantori of the Weather Channel.

"The guy's a magnet for hurricanes," Henry said. "If he shows up here, we're riding him out on a rail."

Jim's lightning-rod qualities were conclusively established when Hurricane Ivan hit last year, Eric Fleischauer reports. Amazed at the minute-by-minute calls he was receiving from his panicking mother, Sue Richardson of Nashville, Henry finally turned on the TV.

Horrified, he called his mother. "If I had known it was that bad, I'd have pulled a gun out and shot myself before it got here!"

That gun got them home

Spc. Michael Acquaviva fully appreciated his sergeant's answer when he tried to get out of carrying the heavy and awkward squad automatic weapon.

"Why have I got to carry it?" asked the Joppa resident, who accepted the Audie Murphy Patriotism Award here on behalf of all Alabama soldiers July 4.

His sergeant, Herman Kritner, told the National Guardsman, "If we ever get in a tight situation, this weapon is going to get us home. And I need somebody I can depend on to operate it."

Michael accepted the challenge, Paul Huggins notes.

On April 4, 2004, Michael found himself on an Iraqi rooftop with a handful of soldiers, using the machine gun to repel hundreds of insurgents. He and the gun played a key role in the successful defense of their compound.

Roy Coley leaves a void

Most around Falkville feel Roy Coley's departure will leave big shoes to fill. Roy resigned to take a position with the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority. He told Ronnie Thomas that if he didn't accept the job, he would always wonder how it might have been.

Roy had been mayor five years; he was a councilman the previous four years. He served as superintendent of utilities and in the volunteer fire department.

Sue Wood, principal of Falkville High School, told Roy, "You're the best mayor since Bill."

Sue's husband, Bill Wood, was mayor from 1980 to 1984.

He's a cancer survivor, too

Morris Lovelady, a barefoot skier from Harvest, seemed to always be a hit on the rivers and lakes after folks learned of his unusual ability.

He told Ronnie that while in the Air Force in 1959 in Charleston, S.C., he stood on the bank and watched a ski club perform. He asked, "Would you pull me while I barefoot?" Afterward, the club welcomed him.

His brother, Robert Lovelady of Decatur, flipped a few times trying to ski barefoot and gave it up. But he and many others are proud of Morris' achievements on the water and in life. He is a cancer survivor.

"I had surgery in 1986, and, thank the Lord, I've been clean ever since," Morris said.

DAILY Weekend Editor Steve Stewart compiles and edits You Don't Say. If you have an item of community interest, call Steve at 340-2444, e-mail him at, or write to You Don't Say, THE DECATUR DAILY, P.O. Box 2213, Decatur, AL 35609. DAILY staff members contribute many of the items you see here.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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