By Erica Thomas, managing editor
TRUSSVILLE — A fallen soldier from Trussville will be honored with a bronze bust sculpture, through the Alabama Fallen Warriors Project. The Trussville City Council hosted the commissioning of the project during its regular council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019.
The family of Army Sgt. Jason Stegall was on hand for the commissioning. His wife, Ashley Stegall, said the bust will mean a lot to her family.
“It’s going to be so awesome for us to have this bust for us to actually see something instead of just going to the cemetery,” said Stegall. “It’s going to be great for our son, Landon.”
Approximately 120 Alabamians have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Military Times database, and the Alabama Fallen Warrior Project was created to honor their memories and sacrifices.
Mark Davis, the founder of the Alabama Fallen Warriors Project, has a goal of creating a bronze bust for every Alabama veteran that has been killed since the events of 9/11. These busts will be installed in a place of honor where the community will be able to remember the fallen and contemplate the sacrifice that was made.
“When a veteran dies, he dies two deaths,” said Davis. “First is when they’re killed and the second is when we forget he or she and don’t remember them. My mission is to honor and remember those people and make sure the second death doesn’t occur.”
Stegall, who was from Trussville, died while serving his country on Dec. 14, 2009. Stegall was deployed 15 months during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star with “V” for valor.
Photo of existing bronze busts provided through the Alabama Fallen Warrior Project.
Trussville City Council President Jef Freeman said he hopes everyone in the city comes out for the commissioning of the bronze bust.
“As we know, the people who defend us on an ongoing basis worldwide and make the ultimate sacrifice, we need to honor,” said Freeman. “Jason Stegall was one of those. He didn’t die in action but he died as a result of action.”
Several local businesses have helped raise money for the bronze bust, including Sheepdog Firearms and Keller Williams Realty. Keller Williams presented a $2,000 check to the cause at Tuesday’s council meeting. After all the money is raised, the bust will be sculpted by Col. Lee Busby and will be bronzed at the University of Alabama. It will be placed in Trussville’s Civitan Park.