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franklin county times

Family, church help local man attend Alabama football game

There are many qualities about Russellville resident Thomas Evans that stand out to those who meet him, but probably the most noticeable quality is Evans’ love for Alabama football.
Evans, a resident of Southern Manor Assisted Living, has not missed a televised game in several years and he said if the game isn’t televised, he catches the replays on Sundays. He also said he’s enjoyed the success the Crimson Tide has had, especially last season.
“The championship game this past year was a great game, and I knew Alabama would win,” Evans said. “And Mark Ingram winning the Heisman was great, especially since it was the first time anyone from Alabama had won the award, which is hard to believe since Alabama has had so many great players like Joe Namath, Kenny Stabler and Shaun Alexander.”
Evans would certainly know about the great players in Alabama’s past because he has been a Crimson Tide fan ever since he could remember what being a fan was.
“My earliest memories of Alabama football are from the Bear Bryant era,” Evans said. “They were winners and that’s what made me love the program.”
Evans said that he would watch games with his parents, Jimmy and Lencie Evans, who used to own a store on Franklin Street in Russellville.
“My family all loved Alabama football, but my mother was a big Alabama fan,” Evans said.
Evans remembers attending an Iron Bowl game back when the Crimson Tide played at Legion Field in Birmingham.
“I was glad to be at the game but back then, the seating wasn’t very good at Legion Field and people would jump up in front of me and I couldn’t see,” Evans said. “All I really remember is that I said I would never get in a crowd like that again.”
But Evans had to go back on that promise to himself this past weekend when he got the opportunity to travel to Tuscaloosa for the Crimson Tide’s Homecoming game against Ole Miss.
Evans’ sisters, Jimmie Martin from Huntsville and Betty Richardson from Demopolis, know how much Evans loves the Crimson Tide, so together, with the help of members from Evans’ church family at North Highlands Church of Christ, they made Evans’ trip to Tuscaloosa possible.
“My sisters bought the tickets for us to go, and Ricky Young and Gary Hester from the church took me to the game,” Evans said.
“It was a much better experience this time around. We sat in the north end zone near the goal line in seating where no one could jump in front of me. It was a great experience.”
Evans, Young and Hester arrived in Tuscaloosa about 4 p.m. and toured the university’s campus before heading into the stadium. 
“We rode through the quad, saw Denny Chimes and got to hear Alabama’s band playing,” Evans said. “The atmosphere was festive and everybody seemed excited and ready for the game.”
Evans said the experience as a whole was something he’ll never forget.
“There were so many good things about this trip that I can’t pick just one favorite thing about it,” Evans said. “I’m just so thankful to my sisters and my church family for making it possible.”
Evans said that his family and church friends have been very helpful over the years and very supportive for his passion for Alabama football.
“My church family has been good to me. They take me to the Russellville football home games and pick me up three times a week for church. And most of my Alabama memorabilia has come from them. I just couldn’t ask for a better church or a better church family.”

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