From Natchez, with love

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 24, 2010

NATCHEZ — Area troops stationed overseas were given a nice reminder of where they came from as residents from all over the Miss-Lou met on Broadway Street for a community photo Thursday afternoon.

Approximately 70 residents fought the cold and wind and gathered together for the picture.

“It’s cold, and I don’t like it,” Natchez resident Beverly Laurant said. “But the troops have to sacrifice so much for us, and a little cold isn’t going to hurt me any.”

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Laurant said she doesn’t have any family or friends serving overseas, but she came out to show her support anyway.

“They do a good job for us,” she said. “I have always had great admiration and respect for our troops, so I am just doing my part to say thanks.”

Natchez resident Diane Holland had tears in her eyes when she was talking about supporting the troops.

“I was hoping for a million people to show up here today,” she said. “I know the troops need the encouragement.”

Natchez resident and sisters Robin Stahlman and Lisa Swinny both said they came out to show support for their troops, especially their family members.

“Pretty much my whole family is in the military,” Stahlman said.

Swinny said she has a brother, two sons and a brother-in-law serving, and that she knows a Christmas card from the community will bring a smile to soldiers faces.

“It is good for them to know that their families and communities are thinking of them,” she said. “It is tremendous to have support from home.”

Swinny said she was thankful that there are people like photo organizer Karlyn Ritchie in the community.

“It’s a really good effort on (Ritchie’s) part,” she said. “It just goes to show you that one person can make a difference in the community.”

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland also made it out for the community Christmas card and said he was proud to support his troops.

“I just think it is a tremendous opportunity to do something for our troops,” he said. “This is a great way to show them we appreciate their work.”