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Three Hots and A Cot spokesman speaks to Clay Council about Wreaths Across America

By Crystal McGough, copy editor

CLAY — The fourth annual Wreaths Across America event at Jefferson Memorial Gardens in Trussville is just around the corner and Wayne Odell, president of the Birmingham Fleet Reserve Association (branch 112) and spokesperson for Three Hots and A Cot, spoke to the Clay City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 10, about the upcoming event and needs.

“This will be our fourth year at Trussville to do Wreaths Across America,” Odell said. “We have five young men buried there that went to school in this area. I consider all five of these young men part of our community.

“We also have discovered there is a possibility we have three more KIAs (killed in action). We are working on finding information on that.”

In honor of the five local fallen soldiers, Odell read their names out loud to the city council. Those soldiers are:

Jonathon Millican
Jan. 4, 1987 – Jan. 20, 2007
Locust Fork High School
Silver Star and Purple Heart

Private US Army
Kelley Stephen Prewitt
Nov. 15, 1978 – April 16, 2003
Cathedral of the Cross Christian, Center Point
Purple Heart

William Z. VanOsdol
June 13, 1986 – Aug. 19, 2009
Pinson Valley High School
Bronze Star and Purple Heart

Michael Wesley Hosey
Sept. 23, 1983 – Sept. 17, 2011
Clay-Chalkville High School
Bronze Star and Purple Heart

Jason Dwayne Stegall
Oct. 2, 1978 – Dec. 14, 2009
Hewitt-Trussville High School
Bronze Star and Purple Heart

Wreaths Across America is a nationwide fundraising project that puts live Maine Balsam wreaths on the graves of veterans during the Christmas season. Three Hots and A Cot sponsors the project for our local area, and this year’s wreath-laying ceremony will take place on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, at 11 a.m. at Jefferson Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home.

“Wreaths Across America has been going on since 2007,” Odell said. “It is to honor our fallen, also to honor those who have served and teach the youth about America.”

Three Hots and A Cot is in need of 1,000 to 1,500 wreaths sponsored, at $15 per wreath. The deadline to sponsor is Nov. 30, 2019. For information on how to sponsor a wreath, visit or call Richard Cislak at (205) 249-5717.

In city news, the council passed two resolutions to authorize the abatement of public nuisances in the city. Resolution 2019-18 addressed the abatement of weeds at 5249 Baggett Drive and 5269 Jean Drive, and Resolution 2019-19 addressed the abatement of personal property at 5191 Hickory Drive.

Councilor Dennis Locke was not in attendance, but sent the council information on the month of August’s $500 School Grant awards.

Clay Elementary winner: Mandi Evans; Evans plans to purchase a Chromebook and a Calm Down Kit for use in each classroom.

CCMS winner: Jordan Tyler, English Language Arts teacher; Tyler plans to purchase Chromebooks to assist with her goal of a paperless classroom.

CCHS winner: Mateusz Rudak, Information Technology teacher; Rudak plans to use the funds for educational display materials and/or equipment, to create a more exciting classroom learning environment.

During pre-council, City Manager Ronnie Dixon gave highlights on the past year’s budget, since the city of Clay’s new fiscal year will begin on Oct. 1.

According to his report, the city has spent $323,000 on the schools in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The city spent another $333,500 in maintenance of the city’s parks, as well as employee expenses. At this time, $183,000 has been spent on the Clay Public Library, and $152,000 has gone to the Senior Center, not including the additional meals the city has been providing.

Dixon said that the city finished out last year with $400,000 “in the black.”

“This year should look the same,” Dixon said. “… We should be basically on the same budget that we’ve been on for the last, this will be the third year.”

Dixon also said that the city would be purchasing four extra pickleball nets, which can be used on the tennis courts. The new nets will be able to be checked out from the library, using a library card, during the library’s regular hours.

The next meeting of the Clay City Council will be Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, at Clay City Hall. Pre-council begins at 6 p.m. and the regular council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.

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