NAVARRE BEACH — When Allen Acree was in the third grade, he knew he wanted to be a firefighter. He was a natural athlete and a good student, although a big shy.
When he grew up, he worked two jobs to save enough money to attend fire school; even sleeping in his truck and forgoing a hotel to save money.
Acree become a firefighter, and a good one. He loved his job at Navarre Beach Fire Rescue and earned the moniker “Hercules” or “Herc” because he was not only handsome but extraordinarily fit. He hoped to take his lifelong dream to the next level by becoming a fire chief.
But Acree died in a motorcycle accident May 19, 2013. He was only 30 years old.
Allen was liked by everyone and would do anything for anyone.
“He was a very loving person who had a big heart,” said his mother, Lujuana Pickett.
Allen did not leave this life without one more final selfless act. Because Allen was registered as an organ donor, he helped 77 people through the gift of tissue donation.
“I am so glad he wanted to donate so others could have a better life. He was all about helping someone else,” Lujuana said. “I am a donor because of my hero and son, Allen. May he rest in peace knowing the positive outlook on life he left us with.”
Allen always said, “Through pain, comes strength.” He even had this phrase tattooed on his arms in Hebrew.
“I never realized the impact of these words until I lost him,” his mother said. “They are so very true.”
Lujuana knew her son was a donor and remembers how he first learned more about donation. When he was old enough to start driving, he was asked if he wanted to be an organ donor. He didn't know what to say, so he said no.
He asked his mom about it later.
“I told him that it was a personal preference and it was his decision. When he got his driver’s license the next time, he changed and registered as a donor,” she said.