By Capt. Ken WoodsAugust 31, 2016
FORT BENNING, Ga., (Aug. 31, 2016) -- Former NFL running back Shaun Alexander visited Fort Benning for the day on Friday August 26th with the National Ranger Memorial Foundation. Alexander, who played for the University of Alabama, played for the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins of the National Football League, was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in May 2011 and was named the NFL MVP in 2005. He was also named to the NFL's 2000 All-Decade team.
During his visit, Alexander ate at the Kouma Dining Facility on Harmony Church where he was greeted by Soldiers and fans. One fan, in-particular, greeted Alexander for the second time in 18 years. Sgt. 1st Class Jason Mayfield greeted Alexander with two pictures dating back to 1998, before Alexander ever began his professional career. The pictures were of Mayfield's first encounter with Alexander at a restaurant in Tuscaloosa, AL.
"I was stationed at Fort Carson and was on leave for Thanksgiving. The Alabama head coach did a radio program from the restaurant after Alabama had just beaten Auburn and I wanted to get an autograph and photo," recalled Mayfield. "I was nervous to approach him as he was eating with some other players. I approached him and politely asked if I could take a photo with him and he happily said yes and seemed somewhat surprised by the request."
Alexander appeared equally surprised as Mayfield revealed the photos and recounted their story. "This is absolutely incredible," commented Alexander, grinning from ear to ear as he listened to Mayfield.
"When I found out that Shaun was going to be here at Benning I wanted to show him the photo. I thought it would be a nice surprise to see a photo of him with a fan and 2 year old son taken 18 years ago," explained Mayfield. Mayfield's son, Pvt. 1st Class Bryce Mayfield, is now a Soldier himself and is attending the 75th Ranger Regiment's Ranger Assessment and Selection Program here at Fort Benning.
"Meeting Shaun was a pleasure knowing that there are athletes who are fans of the military and are appreciative," said Mayfield. "He is a class act and a fine person and representative of the University of Alabama. His faith and testimony helped strengthen me in my faith and walk with Christ. I am happy that I was able to share that memory with him."