Community spirit grows for fallen Marine

Friends of the late Lance Corporal Steve Sutton are asking businesses in Albany and Lee County  to post his name on their signs, and lower their flags to half staff in his memory. The 24 year old from Lee County was killed last week in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device.

Now friends are using social media to organize a movement to honor him and his family.

Sutton was known as "Big Steve." He was 6-foot-8, and friends say he always had a big grin on his face. Now they're asking his hometown to acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice he paid for the nation, and many businesses are taking part.

Already many businesses have posted signs honoring Lance Corporal Steve Sutton. His family was notified Saturday of his death in Afghanistan. Now family friends like Debbie Lindsey are organizing a campaign to honor him.

"I just felt like he deserved, people need to know what he's given for this country and he deserves to be recognized. Coming back in this unfortunate circumstance," said family friend Debbie Lindsey.

Growing through social media is a campaign asking businesses like Three Square's Diner, that supported American Idol's Phillip Phillips on their signs, to change them now for Steve Sutton.

"He got his honor and glory, and now it's time for a true hero to get his honor and glory," Lindsey said

Tom Gieryic of Gieryic's Automotive Repair never met Big Steve, but was glad to honor him with his sign and flag. "Things like this happen and it happens in your hometown, you owe it to them. It ain't something you think about doing, you owe it to them. You need to do it."

Maryland Fried Chicken owner Jason Renfroe is a close family friend of the Suttons. "The sacrifice that he has given. We just felt like it was real important to honor him, what's he done, and the rest of the troops that are out there."

The Marine Corps League says this is one way to show your support for the men and women serving for our freedom.

"In particular with Lance Corporal Sutton and his passing away, and his giving the ultimate sacrifice, I think it's something that should be done by the community," said Retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. Tim McClelland.

And flying your own flag at half staff is accepted practice.

"A flag flying on an individual property and their feelings. And if they want to lower that to half staff in memory of that individual or individuals, so be it," said Retired Marine Lt. Colonel Dave Aldrich.

The family said they appreciate the community support, and welcome the movement to honor "Big Steve's" memory and sacrifice.

Sutton's body has been flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. His widow, Toni, is there, but it could be Monday or Tuesday before she returns to Lee County with the body. His funeral will be held at the First Baptist Church of Leesburg and burial will be at Crown Hill Cemetery, but they are not sure when.

Friends and community members are also using social media to organize fund raisers for Toni Sutton and her 7-year-old daughter Aubrey.

You can link to this movement to honor Marine Lance Corporal "Big Steve" Sutton.

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