HUGER — Elizabeth Singleton began to cry as she sat inside the auditorium at Cainhoy Elementary/Middle School watching a slideshow of her son's life.
Singleton, family members, friends and numerous Berkeley County officials had gathered on Saturday for a day they all said was a long time coming: the naming of Cainhoy Road in memory of her son, Staff Sgt. Earl Singleton, who was killed in a plane crash while returning from a deployment in 1985.
"He gave his life for his country," Singleton said, of her son.
On Saturday, S.C. Rep. Joe Jefferson, D-Pineville read from a declaration that officially named the portion of Cainhoy Road between the school — 2424 Cainhoy Road — and S.C. Highway 41 to be the "Sergeant Earl Singleton Memorial Highway."
A bill paving the way for the designation was introduced by Jefferson and passed in March.
Jackie Singleton, one of five siblings including Earl, said having the highway named after her brother was a true honor for her family.
She followed in his footsteps and served in the Army, retiring two years ago after serving just over 20 years.
"Earl was the oldest and only son," Jackie Singleton said. "(He) truly loved being in the military. He was my inspiration."
Singleton served for 9½ years and was on his way back to Fort Campbell, Kentucky after taking part in a peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Peninsula with the 101st Airborne Division.
The airplane he was on crashed after taking off from Gander International Airport in Newfoundland on Dec. 12, 1985. All 248 service members and eight crew were killed.
Singleton was a Huger native, and for many of the family friends and community members present, having a road named after one of their own was a deeply-humbling honor.
Charleston NAACP President Dot Scott, who reached out to Jefferson and suggested a project to recognize Singleton's service, said honoring the sacrifice and accomplishments of lesser-known African-Americans is just as important as remembering black leaders.
"Some of the youth think of Black History Month as just (Martin Luther King Jr.) and Rosa Parks," Scott said. "At a time when we are looking at so many ills with our young black men ... we need to be telling our kids the story."
And for Fred Lincoln, a family friend and Huger area resident, Singleton's story is one that should be held up as an example of service, patriotism and sacrifice.
"He died trying to bring peace into the world," Lincoln said.