Sergeant honored for service: Calera unit leaves for first deployment to Iraq

MONTEVALLO &045;&045; As Staff Sgt. Mark Allred&8217;s platoon readies for deployment this week, he leaves behind a county he dutifully served, to do so for his country in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Allred along with his 46 member-unit which make up Detachment 1, Company C of the First Battalion, 131st Armor unit, will leave following a deployment ceremony starting at 3 p.m. July 4 at Delville High School.

The unit will be deployed for one year starting July 6, when they will travel to New Jersey to finish training at Fort Dix before heading to Iraq.

For the communities of Montevallo and Calera, Allred is a police sergeant, volunteer fire-fighter and Staff Sergeant for the Calera National Guard unit.

In appreciation of his nearly two decades of service, Allred was presented a plaque last week by Montevallo Mayor Sharon Anderson, and a resolution was passed commending his dedication to the community.

&8220;Sgt. Allred is a dedicated police officer,&8221; Anderson said. &8220;He has a lot of responsibility, and he handles the responsibility very well.&8221;

Allred was raised in Oneonta but drawn to the University of Montevallo, where he majored in elementary education on his way to what he thought would be a career in teaching.

A part-time job as a dispatcher for the Montevallo police department proved to be a life-altering experience.

&8220;It kind of grew on me,&8221; Allred said of the police work. &8220;And I decided that that&8217;s what my calling was.&8221;

Since then Allred has worked as a dispatcher, patrolman, member of the Shelby County drug task force and a sergeant in the army national guard.

Allred said the guard initially appealed to him as a way to pay for college and serve his country, so he enlisted in Calera.

In comparing the jobs he said they are both different but require similar skills, like the ability to work with people in stressful situations.

Montevallo police chief Kevin Peters said Allred is, &8220;a cop&8217;s cop.&8221;

&8220;One of the highest honors one police officer can give another is to say that he would go through a door with them on a search warrant,&8221; Peters said. &8220;I would definitely do that with Mark.&8221;