'Big Steve' tribute grows

We're still waiting to find out funeral arrangements for a Lee County Marine killed in Afghanistan. But you are encouraged to help line the route of the funeral procession for Lance Corporal Steve Sutton.

There is now a bank account set up to accept donations for his family and other fundraisers are planned.

Big Steve Sutton's family is still waiting on the Marine Corps to release his body in Delaware, to be able to set the day and time for his funeral. Supporters are asking people to line the funeral route from Leesburg to Albany on that day, to pay tribute.

In Leesburg, the flags in front of the Courthouse and City Hall fly at half staff, in honor of 24 year old Lance Corporal Steve Sutton, a Lee County Marine killed in Afghanistan Saturday. Businesses in Albany and Lee County are putting up signs honoring him.

Haley West and Traci Henry are two of the people leading a social media campaign to honor Big Steve, now involving thousands of people.

"The support is overwhelming, but no I'm not shocked. We love our veterans. We love our military. We have a great community and we stand next to each other," Henry said.

Saturday morning a car wash fund raiser will be held at the Three Squares Diner on Highway 19 South, with the money going to the family. Volunteers to wash the cars are pouring in. Businesses were asked to switch their signs from supporting Phillip Phillips to honoring Big Steve, and to lower flags to half staff, and that can be seen across Lee County and Albany.

"I have been completely overwhelmed by the way the community has responded. I figured that people would be willing to do it, but I never in a million years dreamed that people would be so passionate about it," West said.

Sutton's funeral will be held at the First Baptist Church in Leesburg, and burial at Crown Hill Cemetery. Organizers now are asking the community to stand along the funeral procession route when the service is held, to honor Big Steve.

"Just line the streets. I would love to see people shoulder to shoulder out there. Just paying their respects for Steve and honoring him. Over 10, 000 people came to see Phillip, and I would love to see double that for Steve and his family," West said.

The community support honoring the fallen Lee County Marine continues to grow, as the family waits to see when Big Steve will return to his hometown for the last time.

A donation fund account was set up at Heritage Bank, in the name of Steve Sutton Memorial Account. Saturday's car wash will begin at 9 AM, and organizers say they will stay as long as people show up.

  • You can learn more about the tribute to Lance Corporal Steve Sutton at the facebook page set up by community organizers.

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