People in Dale County are remembering Charles Poland, the bus driver who was shot last in January, while trying to protect the children on his bus from Jimmy Lee Dykes, who later holed up in a bunker with one of those children for almsot a week.
Hundreds of people came to Midland City Elementary School
for a ceremony to honor everyone involved in the hostage standoff, including members of Charles Poland's family. "He was much much more than just a hero to me. He was my first love," said Mary Poland, his wife of 43 years.
She sat with the children who were on Poland's bus that day, who say he saved their lives.
hink it was a brave reaction, it was real, I don't think it was something I could have did," said Kealy Johnson
Poland's daughter, Lydia Hancock, says his actions didn't surprise her at all.
"Everyone is just now realizing what I've known my whole life, that my father was always my hero, will always be my hero," she said.
Ethan, the child who was held hostage in the bunker for nearly a week, was also a the ceremony. He joined his classmates, releasing a balloon to honor Poland's memory.
Charles Poland's family tells me they're sure something good will come out of this situation, and that's thanks to Charles Poland's sacrifice.
State representatives also presented Poland's family members with proclamations signed by Governor Robert Bentley in honor of his bravery.
"My heart is in ashes and will be, but my faith in God, and I know it beyond a shadow of a doubt, because we have Ethan, walking around, we have those other precious children," said Mary Poland.