Fighter Jet dedication Sunday

Published 7:51 pm Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It’s been the talk of the town ever since it arrived.

As soon as word got around that Highland Home School was finally getting the plane it has wanted for so many years, that’s all anyone in the area has been able to talk about.

And now, it has finally become a reality.

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At Monday night’s Crenshaw County Board of Education meeting, which was held in the HHS auditorium, several people were honored for their role in helping to bring the F-16 fighter jet to the school and mounting it on its platform in the lower parking lot.

HHS Principal Joseph Eiland recognized Rep. Charles Newton for his part in getting the ball rolling.

“Rep. Newton took a very serious approach in helping us realize a dream here at Highland Home School,” Eiland said.

“This entire project has shown what people can do when they work together,” Rep. Newton said. “When they work together and don’t worry about who’s going to get the credit, there is nothing you can’t do….And something else about this community—I’ve not once heard anyone say, ‘We can’t do that.’”

Eiland also recognized Carl Massey.

“This summer, we still had construction going on at the school, and it was almost time for school to begin, plus we were trying to figure out a way to get the plane here,” an emotional Eiland explained. “One morning on my way to work, I prayed, ‘God, I need some help.’ I stopped at the Citgo to get some coffee, and I saw Carl Massey and told him my dilemmas, and he simply said, ‘What do you need?’ And he has been here for us the whole time.”

Another special recognition went to SMSgt. Robert Owen, who led in the disassembling and reassembling of the fighter jet at Ft. McClellan and at the school.

“It was a blessing to me to be a part of all of this,” Owen said. “Mr. C.J. Faulk has such a great group of people to work with. This whole experience has been amazing.”

C.J. Faulk and his construction crew mounted the F-16 and were part of the entire process from the beginning. Faulk also received an extra special recognition Monday night from Principal Eiland.

“Our Legislature allowed military personnel to get their high school diploma if they had to leave because of military service,” Eiland said. “This man took it upon himself to leave school and fight for his country, so we now would like to present a diploma to Mr. C.J. Faulk.”

“I felt like I had to go,” Faulk said. “My brother Clarence was killed in 1944 in France, and I’ve just always been driven to serve my country.”

Eiland recognized all those who had taken part in retrieving, dismantling and reassembling the fighter jet during the meeting. Also, the Board adopted a resolution for the F-16 Memorial in honor of all those who left their families to serve and defend our country.

However, the accolades aren’t over yet. A special dedication ceremony will be held at Highland Home School this Sunday, Nov. 23, at 2 p.m. to commemorate the completion of the F-16 Fighter Jet Memorial, and to honor the former students who served our country. All Highland Home School veterans are asked to contact SMSgt. Owen at 334-303-2282 for more information about the ceremony.

A reception will follow in the school cafeteria.