Jeremiah Harrell at the gravesite of Uncle Johnny Sawyer at Arlington. (Contributed)
Jeremiah Harrell at the gravesite of Uncle Johnny Sawyer at Arlington. (Contributed)

Archived Story

Harrell family has long history of service

Published 8:46am Friday, May 17, 2013

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

Jeremiah Harrell is a local, typical 12-year-old. He loves salisbury steak and mashed potatoes with one of his favorite restaurants being Golden Corral.

Harrell loves sports, computer games, basketball, chess, soccer and singing. He is a member of Emanuel Temple Church and has many relatives there. Siblings are Justin, Dominique and Laila.

A long ancestry of military service is in the family beginning with great granddaddy Stoten Sawyer, so Jeremiah was thrilled to know that his school trip was going to allow him to visit Arlington National Cemetery where his uncle, Staff Sgt. Johnny Sawyer is buried.

Harrell stood at the grave of his uncle for 15 minutes or more. This memory will embed itself in his mind to know that a direct ancestor played a role in military and American culture.

“Some of the country’s finest torch bearers are resting here,” said Harrell.

Thomas Nail and Christopher Carpenter assisted Harrell in seeking out and locating the gravesite. Adventure Tours Ken Sadberry said Harrell is the first student to have a relative buried at Arlington since Sadberry has been with the company.

Grandparents Leon and Robin Harrell of Alabaster are proud of the history of their family in the Air Force, Navy, Army, Marines, Coast guard and National Guard. His aunt, Lt. Col. Clara Sawyer is a retired nurse and resides in Alabaster.

Harrell certainly has a lot to be proud of, so his family won’t be surprised when duty calls to hear him say “I’m ready.”

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