Winnfield, LA, is one of those towns you might consider a bump in the road.  It's a town you've heard of, but just can't quite place where it is.  Heretofore, this little burg of 4,495 residents between Ruston and Alexandria was famous in the history of our state (or infamous, depending on your point of view) for being the birthplace of legendary governor Huey Long.  Yesterday Winnfield was in the news again, and no one can quibble about the intentions or honor of six of its citizens.

According to the Louisiana Radio Network, 93-year-old Winnfield resident Thomas Hunter died recently.  Hunter was a World War II veteran who participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy.  After returning from the war, Hunter never married and outlived all his siblings and cousins, so he died without any relatives to bury him.  The funeral home attending to Hunter reached out to Winnfield High School football coach Lyn Bankston and asked if he had some players who would be willing to serve as pallbearers at Hunter's funeral.  Bankston reached out to six young men who he identified as being team and community leaders and asked if they'd be willing to serve.

Clad in their team jerseys Matthew Harrell, Brett Jurek, Justin Lawson, T.J. Homan, Christian Evans, and Lee Estay carried the casket of Thomas Hunter at his funeral and burial.  They wore the jerseys because they believe that the Winnfield football team stands for the same honorable traits that Hunter exhibited in his life.

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Alto, recognized the contributions of these young men in a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.  He said that the players "gave Mr. Hunter the hero’s send-off he deserved."

So, if you're ever driving down State Highway 167 between Ruston and Alexandria, take time to stop and visit Winnfield, the little town that honors history and those who fought to protect our freedom.


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