A pair of Vietnam veterans, including one who spent seven-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war and another who was affected by the chemical Agent Orange, were honored last week as Eufaula’s two newest streets were named after them.
Lt. Col. Tom Sima and LCpl Clarence Diggs were on hand as Eufaula Mayor Jack Tibbs dedicated Sima Way and Diggs Drive in front of several fans and family members of the Veterans.
The streets are next to the new Taco Bell location in south Eufaula across Highway 431 from the southern entrance to Walmart.
“I told them these are short streets for two big men,” Tibbs said.
Sima was a POW, surviving on a diet mostly of pumpkin soup after being shot down and captured in Vietnam. He told Tibbs that were he to go out and eat a steak today at a restaurant it would be more meat than he had in seven-and-a-half years in prison. Tibbs also joked that Sima was a “trouble maker” while in prison because the Vietnamese often moved him to different locations.
“I’m a long-time Alabamian, but a short-timer in Eufaula,” Sima said. “I’m a displaced Yankee, but, I never had as many known friends as I have here. I’m from a coal-mining town in Pennsylvania, yet I intend to spend the rest of my life here. I couldn’t ask for a more friendly town then Eufaula, Alabama.”
Diggs is also a Vietnam Veteran and was harmed by the chemical U.S. troops deployed, Agent Orange.
“We have some amazing veterans in our community,” Tibbs said while addressing the gathering at the intersection of the streets. “Today, we are honoring two of them. Lance Corporal Clarence Diggs was a lean mean fighting machine. He’s a Vietnam veteran with a purple heart. Agent Orange has had a strong hold over him ever since his service, but he has also done a lot for his community.
“With Taco Bell here, more people probably see these two streets than any others in the city. Soon, there will be other businesses here, too.”
Diggs said that while he and Tibbs have not agreed on everything, they were standing on the same street and wanted the same things for the city.
“I’m really proud of Eufaula,” Diggs said. “I love Eufaula. I’ve been in big cities but let me tell you this place is nice and clean. (Tibbs and I) love peace. We’ve got to stop all the violence. Keep us peaceful, and pull your pants up. It’s a beautiful city. I wanna make it more beautiful.”