ALBERTVILLE, Ala. – A community remembered and honored a Marshall County war hero Tuesday.
Albertville city and legislative leaders joined the family of Colonel Ola Lee Mize as the city’s newest bridge in Rabbit Town where he grew up was named in his honor.
The dedication was a sentimental gesture for the loved ones of Mize, who received the Medal of Honor, Silver Star, Purple Heart and other recognitions.
“He would take me fishing all the time. He was a big teddy bear to me but to everyone who else who knew him in the military he was very stern and strict, but he was a great man,” said Mize’s granddaughter Brandy Pearson. “It’s really amazing to know that the town he was born in still recognizes him to this day.”
Alabama Senator Clay Scofield and Representative Kerry Rich spoke about Mize’s heroism and the impact he had on the country and capitalism.
They said he is a true local hero that is well deserving of the memorial.
Marshall County Circuit Judge Tim Riley told News 19 that he heard Mize speak as a mentor to the 20th Special Forces unit in the Alabama Army National Guard.
“He invented a number of things tactically. The scuba school at Key West, Florida for the military is named for him, and different places in Fort Bragg is named for him. In Fort Benning, Georgia, the airborne school,” added Riley.
Riley describes Mize as humble and brave.
“He’s just a living legend. Reading the citations don’t do justice. He won so many medals. The Medal of Honor, which is awarded, not won, and he didn’t even want the thing to start with. He thought other people that died should have got it,” Riley explained.
Mize had a long military history of fighting in the Korean War and doing three tours of duty during the Vietnam War.
He died of cancer in March 2014 at 82 years old.
Riley told News 19 that he has written to Congressman Robert Aderholt about having the Veterans Affairs Clinic in Marshall County also named in honor of Mize not only for his military service but also for his community and church service later in life.