Maryland

Bennett High community joins to celebrate life of Wardell Turner

Bennett High community celebrates...

SALISBURY, Md. - Sergeant Major Wardell Turner was a football player, a clipper, a soldier, a husband and a father. 

The James Bennett High School community came together at the Wicomico Presbyterian Chuch in Salisbury to celebrate the life and military service of Turner, a Nanticoke native.

Turner, a 1984 Bennett alum, died serving his nation in Afghanistan in 2014 when his vehicle was hit by an explosive.

Before his time in the military, Wardell was a standout on Bennett's varsity football team in the early 80s.

"His junior year he shows up to varisty practice, and I start to get to know him.  And he's special right off the bat," said John Usilton, Turner's head coach at Bennett.

He was the fullback and middle linebacker that supplied the determination that led Bennett to back to back undefeated state titles in '82 and '83, paving the way for a dynasty.

"You look in his eyes, and there was just a look of determination.  There was something there that you knew he was going to accomplish what his goals were," said Usilton.

Determination, and focus, his wife Katherine says, drove the father of five, and that drive inspires her today to live life not wasting a moment.

"Wardell was always focused, always focused...   But he had a plan.  I thank god I was apart of that plan."

Guest speakers included Reverend Doctor Cam Carte, Turner's teammate at Bennett, Salisbury Mayor Jake Day, who declared October 28th to be 'Sergaent Major Wardell Turner Day' in the city, and dozens of teammates who joined in a ceremony to retire the number 40, never to be worn by another Clipper.


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