HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison was beloved in this community. That was evident by the number of people who showed up to pay their respects during his funeral Wednesday afternoon. Harrison passed away last week at the age of 74.
The pews were packed at Progressive Union Missionary Baptist Church, to celebrate the life and legacy of the District 6 commissioner.
"My time today was spent saying thank you to all the wonderful residents of Huntsville-Madison County, especially those in District 6, and throughout Madison County who have helped us along this 12-year journey with Commissioner Harrison to achieve our goals," said Jo Miley.
Miley was Commissioner Harrison's administrative assistant. She said that as District 6 Commissioner, Harrison was a champion for the left out, the lost, and the looked over. She said they are huge shoes to fill.
"Commissioner was a champion for so many causes, so many noble causes, and so we are hoping that the person who fills his place will continue in that same vein, to look out for the residents of District 6," she explained.
Speaker after speaker shared their memories of Commissioner Harrison. Every single person touched on his heart for service. He did so much for so many, as explained by his District Six program director, Alice Sams.
"He has really impacted this community, and there are going to be a lot of people who are going to be suffering if his legacy is not carried on," she said.
Sams said Harrison's legacy of providing food for the hungry, clothes for those in need, and all of his other programs, are what contribute to how much of a loss this is for District Six.
"I just don't know how the community is going to react to his passing overall. We have lost a great friend, we have lost a great community leader," she said.
State Representative Anthony Daniels (D-Madison), first met Commissioner Harrison as a student at Alabama A&M. He first had the opportunity to work for him on his campaign for county commissioner, then later interned for Harrison.
Rep. Daniels' said it's largely because of Commissioner Harrison that he became a politician. "He just took me in as someone he tried to groom and talk to, and really expose to life. You know there's more to the man than what is reported all the time, he had a servant's heart."
That is evident in Commissioner Harrison's famed Thanksgiving dinners or any number of his other programs.
"A lot of it was not in his role as a District Six commissioner, but as an individual. He was helping people personally," Daniels explained.
One of those people was Perrion Roberts, one of the first graduates from Commissioner Harrison's Project FOCUS, a mentoring program for former offenders.
"I went on and received a full pardon, and that was because of Commissioner Bob Harrison. He just meant the world to me, he really helped me become the person that I am today," she explained.
Roberts said Harrison's influence will have a lasting legacy on her life. She is now dedicated to helping other ex felons get their lives back on track as well.
"We as people that have had the opportunity to learn from Commissioner, we should help other people that didn't get the opportunity, to teach them and help motivate them," she said.
Commissioner Harrison was laid to rest at Valhalla Memory Gardens.
If you would like to honor the memory of Commissioner Harrison, donations to benefit the Bob Harrison Senior Wellness and Advocacy Center can be made at the center, or the District 6 office.