Hughes and Coleman Hometown Hero: Veteran Joel Hinkle
"I just feel like I need to give back to my country and to my fellow man. You know God put us here not just to walk around but to help other people," said Joel Hinkle.
Joel Hinkle embodies the idea of a selfless person with a heart for service. He has served for his country as well as his local community.
"He was one of those where we'd get EMS runs or something like that, and people that you know when you call and they are too busy doing something on their own and don't like coming in but Joel was one of those who'd drop everything he's doing to come and help us out," according to Gary Wheat, Russell County 911 Director.
Joel Hinkles heart of service started at a very young age when he became a firefighter at the age of 18. His heart of service led him to pursue being an EMT, the deputy corner, and to serve in the US Military.
His granddaughter, Samantha Sinclair, said, "He's always doing something for other people. He is just always there when you need him regardless of how tired he is or how bad he feels."
You could say it runs in his blood, the flow of service. However, after battling cancer and various other health problem some days it is hard to continue the fight. Fortunately, Joel has a loving wife who drives him every day.
"She is my backbone, she gives me the strength and courage to go on and do things....."I don't know what I'd do without her, I really don't, " said Joel Hinkle.
Joel still spends his time volunteering and working at Walmart. After a temporary leave from work due to health problems, Joel returned to Walmart but for a much greater reason.
"Ha I haven't told my wife but I was hoping to raise enough money to take my wife to Hawaii for our 50th wedding anniversary in two years," said Joel.
He is a man who has spent his life serving for others and is dearly loved by those who know him and by those who pass him in his line of service every day.
"I just thank God that he blessed me to be their granddaughter, and I don't know what I'd do without them. They've helped me in more ways than I can say, " said Samantha.
Joel finds that through selflessness and service, one can find true happiness.
"If you can give back to your community, you'd be surprised at how good it will make you feel, and how much better you will feel about yourself.'