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The Right Stuff Award : 2010 : Barney Carter and Benny Shires
Barney Carter, left: Benny Shires, right
In July of 2010 Barney Carter had an idea to name the new Fieldale bridge in memory of J. Alfred Stegall. Mr. Stegall was Fieldale's police officer for many years. Barney's idea was well received by many; rejected by a few. The few successfully maneuvered to block the project. In the fall of 2010 the project was taken up again by Benny Shires. Again the short-sighted few prevailed. What could have been a positive and continuing celebration of a colorful historic figure was lost as the community of Fieldale failed to seize the day. Despite all, Mr. Stegall would be proud of Barney Carter and Benny Shires. He raised them in a sense; their memories of his influence are strong. That's why they have the 'Right Stuff'. And he would not be surprised at all that they do.

To those of us who fondly remember Mr. Stegall he grows and grows as a real hero. As the years pass we realize better what we had and finally appreciate him fully. He was our surrogate father, our big brother, our safety net for the trip to adulthood. He knew us better than we knew ourselves and he loved us anyway. Today stories about him bring us joy and his adventures remind us of Mayberry. But, as Barney Carter said,

"It was better than Mayberry. He was the real thing".

Pictured above are Barney Carter (left) and Benny Shires (right) enjoying photos of J.A. Stegall.

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