American Legion Post 143 is asking the community to carve time out of its 4th of July weekend to remember Dadeville native James "Spanky" Harrelson, who died in action in Iraq at the age of 19.
Dadeville's legion post, one of the few without a name, will be holding a rededication ceremony in honor of Harrelson Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.
"Come show support for the family, because we're remembering their son and the community's son," Post 143 commander Scott Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker, who is also American Legion District 24 commander, and Alexander City legionnaire Ed Jenkins are also extending that invitation to local representatives. Despite a miscommunication from Shoemaker to the Dadeville City Council last week, Sen. Tommy Tuberville's (R-AL) appearance is not set in stone, though the senator will be in the area and may "stop by."
Rep. Ed Oliver (R-Dadeville), American Legion Department of Alabama commander Tina Bush, the legionnaires and Harrelson's brother will be in attendance.
A bronze plaque bearing Harrelson's likeness is not the only change that'll be on display Saturday. For the past eight months, the Pentecostals of Dadeville have been worshipping at the American Legion after their church burned down in October and only just moved into a new church last month. As a show of thanks, the Pentecostals made sure to leave the American Legion in a better condition than they found it.
"They did the painting, they cleaned the floor for us, they did the work," Shoemaker said.
Pastor Andrew Salinas, who also runs Sonny's hot dog stand, will also be giving out free hot dogs, while Oskar's — where Harrelson used to work — is donating potato salad and coleslaw.
As always, however, the nonprofit is continuing to take donations for ongoing building improvements, Shoemaker said. It's all part of an effort to make Post 143, which dates back to the '30s, a greater presence in the community again.
"I hate to say it, but within Dadeville we're trying to get our name back out there that we're there," Shoemaker said.
Saturday will also provide a chance for recruitment.
"We want everybody to attend," Jenkins said. "And we want to encourage people who are eligible to join the legion. Even the (National) Guard, they can join us."