Hoover, Ala. – The story is everywhere. Alabama National Guardsman Rashad Wilson Billingsley came to 12 year old Molly Davis’s aid when she was shot in the back at Riverchase Galleria in Hoover on November 22nd. Rashad has been hailed a hero and rightly so. What led to that moment took positive influences in Rashad’s life to make it happen. Let’s look at one very important figure in Rashad’s life.
Rashad’s uncle, SSG Willie Dunn, served in the Alabama National Guard for 22 years. During that time, SSG Dunn served in the Persian Gulf War in Iraq. His entire life, Rashad witnessed firsthand his uncle’s service to his state and country and it instilled a desire to serve himself.
After high school, like his uncle, Rashad joined the Alabama National Guard. During basic training, his Uncle Willie was fighting lung cancer. Before he could see his nephew graduate from basic training, Willie passed away. Although, his Uncle Willie had passed on, his memory and legacy continued on through Rashad.
On November 22nd, part of SSG Willie Dunn was on the floor with 12 year old Molly Davis working to save her life. The powerful positive influence of SSG Willie Dunn in the life of his nephew, was clear on that night. Willie Dunn was also a preacher and referring to that night at the Galleria and his life to this day, Rashad said, “Without God, I wouldn’t be here today. I want to give him all the credit.” It appears that his uncle’s impact was extended far beyond Rashad’s desire to join the military.
We all have an Uncle Willie, someone who has influenced us in a way that leads us to make a difference in the lives of others. We simply have to follow that path and allow their legacy to help move us forward.
While we continue to thank Rashad for his actions that night, we thank SSG Willie Dunn as well. Uncle Willie’s legacy lives on.