Shelby Ridge salutes facility’s veterans

Pelham Fire Department Lt. Ricky King, an Air Force veteran, pins fellow veteran Jewel Gable during a Nov. 14 Veterans Day ceremony at Shelby Ridge in Alabaster. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Pelham Fire Department Lt. Ricky King, an Air Force veteran, pins fellow veteran Jewel Gable during a Nov. 14 Veterans Day ceremony at Shelby Ridge in Alabaster. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Pelham Fire Department Capt. Chris Carpenter, a US Army veteran, knows firsthand the sacrifices necessary to maintain the nation’s freedom, and knows the importance of the military foundation laid by his predecessors.

“In one way or another, we all ended up in service to the United States of America,” Carpenter told a group of five veterans at a Nov. 14 ceremony at Alabaster’s Shelby Ridge and Rehab Select nursing home. “Most of us were just kids when we went in, and we didn’t know what we were getting into. We saw some things we never want to forget, and we saw some things we may not want to remember.

“We are fortunate for the guys who served before us,” Carpenter added. “The tradition continues. Y’all passed it to us, and we passed it on to another generation after us.”

During the ceremony, which was sponsored by Vitas Health Care, Carpenter and several other military veteran Pelham firefighters saluted the six veterans who live at Shelby Ridge.

The event included a pinning ceremony, during which Carpenter and his colleagues Lt. Ricky King, an Air Force veteran, fire medic Raymond Donde, an Army veteran and firefighter David Douglas, a Marine veteran, presented American flag pins and certificates of recognition to Shelby Ridge veterans Melvin Eisenberg, Jewel Gable, Michael Eaton, Todd Hunter and Norbert Carr.

Vitas and Shelby Ridge personnel also presented roses to the several military family members who live at the facility, and Jacqueline D. Jones sang “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.”

“We could not be here today if it weren’t for the sacrifice of these men,” Vitas Veteran Liaison David Rodgers said. “You are truly the pinnacle of our society.”

Although he served the country in the military, Carr was quick to cast the spotlight on the firefighters who were in attendance at the ceremony.

“I want to thank the fire departments here and all around the country for all they have done, especially since September 11,” Carr said.