Public servant America laid to rest
Published 6:45 pm Wednesday, July 1, 2009
By By Adam Prestridge
special to the standard
Hundreds of law enforcement officers paid their final respects to Escambia County Sheriff's Maj. Tommy America Saturday as he was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Atmore.
America died June 23 at his home, surrounded by family and friends, following a lengthy battle with cancer.
His wife, Audrey, recalled Monday their last days together, including America’s final minutes.
The procession to the cemetery following America’s funeral service at Greater Mount Triumph Baptist Church stopped traffic on Alabama 21 for more than 15 minutes as family, friends and fellow peace officers honored their fallen comrade. Atmore residents, young and old alike, sat in lawn chairs across from the entrance to the cemetery to pay their respects to America, who managed the west-end substation in Atmore.
America received full honors as members of the Escambia County, Fla., and Santa Rosa County, Fla., honor guards placed his flag-draped casket at his grave, followed by a 21-gun salute. Dispatchers then cleared the airways for Sheriff Grover Smith to radio America’s call number ES3 one last time and announce him as 10-42, code for "ending tour of duty."
The honor guard then folded America's flag and Smith presented it to Audrey America.
Even though she was taken back by the outpouring of love for her husband, Audrey America said he was definitely worthy of it.
Smith expressed the same sentiments, adding that America would be deeply missed.
According to family, America’s cancer reoccurred in 2006. He underwent surgery in 2007 and had been on a new cancer medication for a year.
In January of this year, doctors noticed that a couple of spots had not shrunk on America’s liver, so in February he started chemotherapy. On April 30, following a few months of chemo, he began taking a pill form of chemotherapy, but the drug did not seem to work.
Although the cancer had come back, family and friends were still shocked by America’s sudden death. In fact, he worked five days prior to dying.
Audrey America said though it has only been a week since she lost her husband, she often catches herself looking at her watch, waiting for her man in uniform to come home.
Knowing that her husband is in a better place comforts Audrey America. She said she will miss the “simple things” about her husband.