1087th soldiers roll into Jonesville

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 14, 2004

JONESVILLE, La. &045; The homecoming Friday in Jonesville was bittersweet.

As the 1087th pulled into the Jonesville National Guard Armory, aunts, uncles, moms, wives, children, dads, cousins &045; you name it &045; were there to welcome them home.

&uot;Good job.&uot;

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&uot;Glad you’re home,&uot; they all said.

It was a reunion for the families and the townspeople to see their heroes come back from a war they spent almost 14 months fighting.

But for the soldiers, it also was a day to leave behind their new family formed in the deserts of Iraq.

&uot;It’s sad Š we’ve to got to leave them,&uot; said Spc. Easley Hollis of Gilbert, La. &uot;They will always be my family. Family away from family,&uot; he said.

He will miss spending so much time with them.

&uot;When I came home on pass I was thinking about them,&uot; he admitted. He knows he will think of the men and women he spent the past year with as he goes home.

&uot;We’ve got everybody’s cell phone numbers,&uot; so they will keep in touch, Hollis said.

Detachment Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Anderson said Friday he was proud of his detachment and they have become &uot;like a second family.&uot;

&uot;That was our goal from the beginning &045; take everybody there and bring them all home safe,&uot; Anderson said.

Now, he said, they will get a well-deserved time off, until their next drill in July.

Now is time to spend with the families they left in the states, the families that have been preparing for months for this day.

&uot;It’s the best day of my life,&uot; Becky Hurt of Monroe said of having her son, Sgt. Chad Rials home at last.

Not only did the families welcome home the 1087th, but the townspeople showed their appreciation with clapping, thumbs up and waving as the troops paraded down the streets of Jonesville.

&uot;They did a good job and we’re proud of them,&uot; said Jonesville Mayor Mike Wilson.

Jonesville Elementary students lined the streets to pay tribute to the troops &uot;because they’re on their way home,&uot; according to first grader Chelsea Peart, 7.

With flags, pinwheels and signs in hand, the schoolchildren enjoyed the parade, waiting for the float to circle around so they could see the soldiers twice.

&uot;It’s about God Bless America,&uot; pre-K student Rachel Eichmann said about the parade.

Not only did the students welcome home the soldiers on the streets of Jonesville but they made signs and banners to decorate the Jonesville National Guard Armory for their celebration as well.

Peart and her class, Mrs. Ingrid’s first grade class, sent the troops cards for Christmas and Valentine’s Day as well.

The people of Jonesville put signs on storefronts and waved flags to the soldiers of Operation Enduring Freedom.

&uot;They served a good cause going over there, fighting terrorism,&uot; Doug Scroggins said as he leaned on his truck during the parade Friday.

Scroggins said it was important for the community members to come out and support the troops.

&uot;It’s a community thing. I wanted to show my respect to the troops.&uot;

The homecoming was much appreciated.

&uot;It was rough,&uot; said Staff Sgt. Calvin Holly Jr. of Jonesville. But, Holly received an Army Commendation Medal for &uot;hard work,&uot; he said, as a section leader.

&uot;I’m overjoyed and just glad to be home.&uot;