News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Football was ticket forward for a patriot

This year’s Audie Murphy Patriotism Award co-recipient almost didn’t get to finish college, Paul Huggins reports. This could have halted his career as a Marine officer.

John D. Harrill Jr., then a 155-pound walk-on middle linebacker for Presbyterian College in South Carolina, was going to face a team with a 255-pound fullback.

Though John was nicknamed “Scrap Iron” for tenacious tackling, his coach thought he’d get flattened and told the sophomore he wouldn’t play.

John talked him into getting one chance. On his first play, he blitzed into the backfield and stuck his helmet into the fullback’s stomach, just in time to knock the football back 20 yards. John’s team recovered.

“Coach came right to me and said, ‘You’re on full scholarship from now on.’ ”

Good thing, because John had only enough money to stay in school that fall. John and his son, John D. Harrill III, will receive the award during Wednesday’s Spirit of America festival at Point Mallard Park.

Your militia at work

Gerry Coffey of Decatur says drivers attending events such as Spirit of America would face more than the usual chaos if not for the Alabama State Defense Force.

These volunteer men and women, ages 17 to 70, help provide security and control traffic, preparing themselves to assist in the event of natural or man-made disasters, Gerry says.

The Defense Force is the state’s authorized militia. It assumes the Alabama National Guard’s state mission if the Guard is mobilized. Defense Force members are retired military personnel and professionals.

Faithful worshipper

Harry Puckett and his family have long supported the Hartselle Camp Meeting, Melanie Smith says.

So when Camp Meeting Association President Rob Cain was welcoming worshippers at the June 24 evening session, he paid tribute to Harry. Harry served years as president, and he was at the meeting as usual. It was his 80th birthday.

She keeps on going

Huntsville city employee Joy McKee’s efforts to keep Huntsville clean and green have made her one of 10 finalists for a national award.

Joy, 49, is competing for a spot in the Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame, which honors persistence, determination and a never-quit attitude. Joy converted a two-person department into a community network and started a litter hot line, which has resulted in 1,500 warning letters to alleged litterbugs, according to Energizer. The Green Guide named Huntsville one of the top 10 green cities.

You can vote for Joy through Aug. 1 at www.ener

An honest man

Iluminado Boc, a 45-year-old motorcycle taxi driver in the Philippines, could have used the $17,000 a passenger left behind in a bag. His wife was in the hospital, and his rent was overdue.

But he gave the money to police because “it was not mine,” according to The Associated Press. Evidently, virtue is its own reward. The passenger gave him a mere $32, which is about seven times what a driver makes in a day.

Send stories for You Don’t Say to, or call Weekend Editor Steve Stewart at 340-2444. Or write P.O. Box 2213, Decatur, AL 35609. Daily staff members contribute many of the items you see here. This column appears Sundays and Wednesdays.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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