Final farewell to Gulfport hero

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Friends and family said their final farewell to a South Mississippi soldier. Staff Sergeant Johnny Roosevelt Polk was laid to rest Saturday. The Gulfport native died last month in Germany from wounds he suffered in Iraq.

Saturday afternoon, hundreds gathered at Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church to honor the life of the fallen hero. Staff Sergeant Johnny Polk served his third and final tour in Iraq. A tour that ultimately would end his life.

"The wife is left here to pick up the pieces, and sometimes that's very hard," said state representative Francis Fredericks.

Fredericks knows firsthand what it's like to lose a spouse. That's why she says her heart goes out to the wife of Sergeant Polk.

"I tried to get the message to her that even though it's hard right now, things will get better. And that she's not alone; a lot of us feel her pain," said Fredericks.

An emotional Congressman Gene Taylor says it never gets any easier attending the service of fallen heroes. Especially when there are still so many lives on the line.

"As we speak, we have about seven-thousand Mississippi Guardsmen over in Iraq a number of Army reservist," said Taylor. "This seems to be an increased level of awareness just because of so many folks in this area, but all we can do is thank the families."

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