Florala holds vigil for missing Marine
Published 11:54 pm Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Mayor asks residents to leave porch lights on for Turner
When Patty Hughes thinks of Sgt. Josh Turner, the first thing that comes to mind is a big smile.
“He was never in a bad mood, and he was always polite,” she said.
Turner, the Florala native who is one of 12 Marines missing after a helicopter crash last week, graduated from high school with Hughes’ son.
Hughes – who is both a veteran and the mother of a son currently in the armed forces – was one of many who turned out for a prayer vigil for Turner and his family in Florala Wednesday afternoon.
The search for survivors of the two helicopters that went down off the coast of Hawaii last Thursday night has been suspended, but in Florala, ministers said they are not giving up hope.
“The searches have been called off, but we offer our prayers in support of these men and their families,” Ray Bundy, pastor of the Assembly of God said. “Our community is small but we stand together on their behalf.”
Bundy called Turner “our own,” and said he enlisted after graduating from Florala High School in 2009. He described him as a good student and a baseball player.
“He always wanted to be a Marine,” he said. He also described him as a “good country boy” who was well respected.
Bundy encouraged Turner’s family members to hold on to their faith.
Mayor Robert Williamson said it is natural for a community to want to do something in times of uncertainty.
“People of faith know the most important thing of all is to pray,” he said.
Williamson commended those in Florala who have put up yellow ribbons for Turner, and added another request.
“Instead of turning your porch lights off tonight, we are asking that you leave your porch lights on until Josh comes home,” he said.
Charlie Lennard, pastor of Florala First Baptist Church, also participated in the service.
The vigil was held in the Rodney J. Evans Civic Center at Lake Jackson, named for another Florala native who was a military hero. Sgt. Evans was killed in action during the Vietnam War in Tây Ninh Province. He died protecting other members of his unit from a concealed land mine using his own body, for which he received the Medal of Honor.