Friday, April 10, 2009

Emotional Day for All~

The following article was from

GRIFFIN, GA -- We have seen it so many times: the emotional goodbye's when America's soldiers head to war. The story never gets old and it never get's routine.

There is one difference for a National Guard unit in Griffin. The 2nd Battalion of the 121st Infantry Regiment of the Georgia National Guard is not headed to Iraq, they are headed to Afghanistan.

They had one last family gathering as a unit at the Carver Road Baptist Church on Thursday. One day after Easter these soldiers will leave their families and they will head to Afghanistan, the new focus of our military overseas.

"I'm getting a little more nervous as the time gets closer, but I think I'm dealing with it a lot better than I thought I would," said Melissa Hutchins. This is the first mission for her husband, Specialist Jeremiah Hutchins. "Yeah, it's starting to hit me now," he said "I volunteered for this deployment but now its starting to hit home that its getting closer to time to leave."

Their community and the Carver Road Baptist Church organized this family day for the soldiers and their families to spend quality time together. They picnicked, hunted for Easter eggs and held a prayer service in the church.

The unit's last mission was in Iraq in 2005. This same Griffin community remembers it well. The most indelible memory is the memory of the loss of Griffin Postal carrier and National Guard Sergeant Bobby Hollar.

It was a tough lesson for students at Crescent Elementary School who were corresponding with Sgt. Hollar until he was killed in September 2005.

The students planted a tree outside their school in his honor, and convinced Congress with a letter writing campaign to rename the Griffin Post Office in Sgt. Hollar's name.

Katie Cobb was a teacher at the school and was also part of putting the family day together at Carver Road Baptist. "The legacy he left behind has motivated me to help these guys and help their families and just let them know that their community supports them and without them we could not be where we are today," she said.

Their new mission is to train and mentor the Afghan National Police and Army so that they can take back their country. First Lieutenant Wesley Eminger said "A lot of the unit has been deployed before but it's a big transition for everybody coming and going, having to be gone for so long."

"We're all ready to go and we're all ready to come back home," Lt. Eminger said. At the prayer service they prayed that this time, it will be all of them coming home.

The 2nd Battalion of the 121st Infantry Regiment is expected to spend one year in Afghanistan before coming home.

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