Guard troops honored for their service

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 9, 2003

VIDALIA &045; A large monument stands in the southeast corner of the lot the Old Concordia Parish Courthouse sits on to honor the 1087th Transportation Company for their service in Operation Desert Storm. A makeshift monument, made out of wood, stood underneath that same tree Sunday afternoon with 40 names listed on it to honor the 1086th Transportation Company for their service in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Family, friends and community members gathered around to see 21 of the 40 members of the company as they were recognized separately and as a group Sunday.

Led by Sgt. First Class Patrick Malbry, the troops stood on the grounds and listened to support from community members.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;From the bottom of our hearts, we welcome you,&uot; Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland told them.

After the pledge of allegiance, invocation and the national anthem, Sheriff Randy Maxwell also thanked the troops.

&uot;This really doesn’t seem enough,&uot; Maxwell said. &uot;Thank you for your courage and bravery.&uot;

Maxwell told the troops he knew their service was something they would probably never forget.

&uot;I want you to teach the children the value of freedom,&uot; he challenged them.

He ended with words that summed up the weekend of events: &uot;You’ve done us all proud.&uot;

Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin said he was proud just to know them and knew the homecoming was special for them.

&uot;I know what it’s like to go overseas and I know what it’s like to come home. It’s great to come home,&uot; he said.

The troops have only been home for about a week and a half, but this weekend they were honored many times over. In addition to Sunday’s service, they were honorary grand marshals in the Ferriday and Vidalia Christmas parades.

&uot;I am exhausted,&uot; Sgt. Kathryn Brooks admitted. &uot;It’s been good. It’s been fun.

&uot;I was in Desert Storm Š and this was the best homecoming ever. I never expected anything like it.&uot;

After Desert Storm, Brooks said she had to go back to where she was stationed, but this weekend was a &uot;hometown&uot; welcome, she said.

&uot;I’ve enjoyed the entire weekend,&uot; Brooks said.

The community members and families, especially the family support group, felt the same.

&uot;We wanted them recognized as individuals and that was what today was all about,&uot; said Kathy Stevens, spokeswoman for the support group.

Tanya Jenkins, also a member of the group, said members would replace the makeshift monument as soon as possible, hopefully with the permanent one displayed at the old courthouse as well.

&uot;We’ve had a lot of fundraisers so we’re hoping to have one,&uot; Jenkins said.

But, the support group will have to get approval from the police jury to put it on the grounds.

As the ceremony ended, &uot;I’m Proud to be an American&uot; was played and many soldiers were mouthing the words as they listened.

&uot;These are the kinds of days that make you really proud,&uot; Concordia Clerk of Court and master of ceremonies Clyde Ray Webber said.