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Sidewalks coming to East Brewton

The city of East Brewton will soon have sidewalks on Williamson Street thanks to a $25,000 grant from a State Farm Insurance program.

The grant was applied for by the family of Devon Spencer, 12, who died on Feb. 16, 2016, from injuries he sustained while walking with a friend from a nearby apartment complex to W.S. Neal Middle School.

On Saturday, the family of Spencer, the community and members of State Farm officials gathered at Fort Crawford Park to celebrate the life of Spencer and for State Farm to present the check for the sidewalks.

Sidewalks will be constructed on Williamson Street near the Neal Elementary and Middle Schools.

Arlene Lester of State Farm said the family applied for the grant and was one of 3,000 applicants. State Farm officials selected 200 of the top applications and there was a digital vote set-up.

“I have to give a big shout out to East Brewton,” Lester said. “This small lit town went in the top 40. Most were non-profits, schools – not families like the Spencer family. It’s more than a miracle that you were selected.”

Each of the top 40 applicants received a $25,000 grant.

Mayor Terry Clark thanked everyone who helped put the program together.

“We hope to have the sidewalks done by next school year,” Clark said.

Local State Farm Agent Spike Maxwell was present and spoke as well.

“This whole event is about giving,” he said. “There are takers and there are givers. I didn’t know Devon personally, but Toni Sanders who works in my office did. Devon gave shoes to kids who didn’t have them. He keeps giving – the city of East Brewton and the local children will benefit from the sidewalks.”

Spencer’s dad, Brian, said his family had not lived in East Brewton that long when Devon was killed.

Brian said that the community showed Devon so much support and he made instant friends here and had success changing schools.

“The cities of East Brewton and Brewton are one of the last areas where good kids still exist,” he said. “It’s one of the best areas to raise a child.”

“Devon touched so many across the country,” Brian said. “I have personally had phone calls from California, and people flew in from Ohio. It’s an honor being his dad. For all of you who got up and voted, we appreciate you. When the accident happened, people inboxed me and said they were praying. We felt them.”

Brian said losing Devon has been a great loss for his family.

“I want to thank the communities of Brewton, East Brewton, Atmore and Century,” he said. “This great loss has been turned into something great. I can’t wait to see the sidewalk finished. I’d like to be the first to know when they break ground.”

Brian said he didn’t actually know that Devon was giving his shoes to students in need.

“He was a really good kid,” he said. “I never had to worry about him doing anything with my back turned.