China Grove veteran hopes service will be remembered
By Shavonne Potts
CHINA GROVE — In the middle of the night, Kevin Turman arrived at the airport and rented a car so no one would know he was in town.
The U.S. Army soldier drove straight from the airport to the China Grove police station where his mother, Nena Stillwell, is an officer.
“I pulled up in a car. She thought I was still in Afghanistan,” he said.
He traded days with another soldier and was able to arrive home early, reaching his mom’s station two days ago. Turman wasn’t supposed to be here until later his month.
On Sunday, he received a standing ovation during a Sept. 11 remembrance service in downtown China Grove.
The tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 in part influenced his decision to enlist.
“After 2001, I had to help. I couldn’t just stand by,” Turman said.
He, like others in the military, is appreciative of the support, but he fears his service is being forgotten.
The soldiers also believe people “forget what we are doing there,” Turman said.
He is honored to serve and welcomes prayers and support for him and his fellow soldiers.
“It’s amazing and I’m definitely relieved to be back,” he said.
Turman will be home until Sept. 25, when he’ll head back to rejoin the rest of his unit.
Alan Goodman, who built the stage for the ceremony, and co-owns Goodman Farm Supply, said he believes Americans are more unified after 9/11.
Ceremonies like the one in China Grove, “encourages us to work more together and do more like we should’ve been doing to start with,” he said.
“The ceremony is a way to honor those who gave their lives,” Goodman said.
In 2001, Tamara Solomon received a remnant of the World Trade Center she’d gotten as a gift. She displayed the piece during the Sunday ceremony.
Friend and co-worker Keith Black had an uncle who worked at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The uncle was allowed pieces of the World Trade Center.
Black, who has since died, told Solomon he was getting her something to add to her collection.
The now retired teacher received the piece in December 2001.
She recalled letting her then seniors at A.L. Brown High School touch the piece, which came from Tower No. 1.
“I told them to ‘see a piece of history,’ ” Solomon said.
The “piece of history” normally sits on her fireplace mantle alongside a piece of the Berlin wall.
Frank Thomason, director of emergency management services, spoke during the service about the day he heard of the terrorist attacks.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Thomason was with a few of those who attended the service.
He was the director of the 911 telecommunications center.
He spoke about the lives lost that day and those who “paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
Joyce Miles, was overcome with emotion as “Taps” was played during the ceremony. Her late husband, Douglas, was a bugler in the military. He died in December.
And as the 21-gun salute was carried out, she cried, remembering her late father, who too, used to perform the same honor.
“That was special to me,” Miles said.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.