Friends and family members honored an Altha, Florida native and a Vietnam War hero yesterday afternoon who was killed in action. It was also the first ceremony of its kind in Calhoun County's history.
Family members of Jerry Allan Sellers couldn't hold back their tears at Thursday's memorial service and monument dedication.
"If there'd ever been one here that we lived close to in Altha that I believe was a humble person, it was him," said William Earl Sewell, a childhood friend.
Sellers graduated from Florida State University in 1956 and joined the United States Air Force. He'd earned the rank of major before his death on Christmas Day 1967 during a night reconnaissance mission in Vietnam.
"He had done something few people in human activity get to accomplish and that is to save the lives of people, way beyond the call of duty," said Army Sgt. Major Jim Brock, event organizer.
For his bravery and sacrifice, Sellers was posthumously awarded the United States Air Force Cross, the second highest military honor.
"There's not a day that goes by that he doesn't have an impact on our lives."
Daughter Jennifer Davis was only 20 months old when he died.
"We knew the impact he had on us and the greater impact he had for others but to have open arms from the town just makes us, if it's possible for us to be even more proud of our dad."
"Their loss created a painful void that could never be filled."
Davis and her sister, Jessica Krahn, say the ceremony has helped fill some of that void.
"It's like finding a family and being part of a family that we lost and it's like life, life has come all the way around and the circle is completed, we are so grateful and thankful that we're connected and we have a hometown!"
Sellers' relatives say they understand the priceless cost of his sacrifice everyday.
Sellers is buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery. His name is listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.