Iraq may be on other side of the world, but as more troops leave for that region some Coast residents say the threat of war is becoming more real to them. Their thoughts are already focused on the safe return of their friends, family and co-workers.
On Wednesday Gautier residents hung a yellow ribbon in honor of local fire fighter Roy Odom, and the rest of the uniformed men and women being called to duty. Another yellow ribbon went up in front of the station where Odom works. His co-workers say the marine reservist is heading to Kuwait. Firefighters say without Odom the "C" shift hasn't been the same.
"Just his humor and having him around," said firefighter Daryl Pierce. "He always makes for a good day."
"He's always got a very good attitude. He's always smiling and he always tries to make everybody else smile," firefighter Ted Lorenzo said.
Odom has been a Gautier fire firefighter of the year even though he's only been with the department for three years. Firefighters describe him as someone whose not afraid of a challenge.
"It's a very emotional time for us because he's going off into a bigger battle than any of us here at this fire department have ever faced," said Lt. Marshal Robinson
The prayers around the flag pole in front of city hall were for the troops headed to the Middle East. Gautier residents wanted to honor the Americans who could be going to war. Sandra Plante has two cousins that have been called to active duty.
"I'd like for them to know that as a family we're behind them and as fellow Americans that if they have to go over there and fight for us we're here supporting them," Plante said.
Until Odom returns his fellow fire fighters will wear the Marine Corps pins out of respect for him and the sacrifice he is making.
Look for the yellow ribbons around Gautier in both public and private sites. The city has already put up ribbons and is asking local business owners to do the same.