MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (8/8/13) – Staff Sargent Jimmy Evans, of the Wendell H. Ford National Guard Training Center, along with Lt. Col. Richard Palmer, Base Commander of the center, have heeded the call through their years of service to our country.
Earlier this week, the two soldiers found themselves on a different type mission... to honor and bring attention to 19-year-old Greenville Firefighter Caleb Harvell. Harvell is known to friends as "KB". Many of his fellow firefighters have noted Harvell's deep love of protecting others by fighting fires. Harvell was diagnosed with cancer in July. He is under treatment now at the Madisonville Baptist Hospital, but was home in Greenville Tuesday when the two uniformed men arrived at his home to bestow several honors, and to show that he is in the thoughts and prayers of everyone at the Ford Training Center.
In a short ceremony, surrounded by family and friends, KB was presented with a certificate naming him an honorary Guardsman. Lt. Col. Palmer explained to Surfky.com after the ceremony that the plaque presented to Harvell "brings him into the Guard team, and honors him for his continued patriotic service to the community,"
Harvell, who comes from a family of firefighters and has planned to make it his career for years, was all smiles. "This makes me feel fine. I really appreciate it. I really do thank you. Actually I have seriously considered going into the Guard."
Harvell was also presented with what is known as the "Challenge Coin", made for the many men and women who served in the War on Terror in Iran.
Lt. Col. Palmer read from the coin while handing it to this brave young man who is not about to give up his fight.
"Presented for excellence by the Task Force Orphan Command team. They called us "The Orphans", which goes back to Civil War service. On the other side it has the Star of Baghdad, Operation New Dawn 2011-2012."
Once again, Harvell's warm, beaming smile lit up his family's backyard patio area where the ceremony was held. Holding the symbolic coin that's been presented to thousands of heroes, it seemed fitting that he join the many who have also held this same symbol of heroism.
KB's father, Phillip Harvell, told the officers, "I'm not much on words, but on behalf of the family, we really appreciate all the support of the community."
Later, on the Facebook page "Fight like KB", the proud father said, "KB had a couple of visitors today. A big thank you going out to LTC Palmer and SSG Evans for coming and making KB's day and presenting him with this certificate of becoming a Honorary Guardsman. What an honor! Just another example on how this community / brotherhood, never leaves a man behind. KB has been in battle with cancer going on 3 weeks now, and never, I mean never, has he, or his mother and I ever felt alone in this fight. We are a very blessed family and feel honored to be a part of this community and a part of a brotherhood that is bigger than anyone could imagine. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!"