Stone County Holds Patriotic Sendoff For Troops

A huge crowd turned out at the Armory in Wiggins, to pay tribute to 27 members of the 890th Engineer Combat Battalion. The night was filled with patriotic music and plenty of prayers for the men and women as they prepare to ship out.

They asked God to "Give them that assurance that they're not alone. You're there with them. You'll comfort them. You'll lead and you'll guide them".

The Stone County Board of Supervisors organized the send off ceremony.

District 1 Supervisor Jill Walters said "We wanted the guys to know that when they go, we're going to be here to try to help take care of their families. We want them to know our prayers are going to be with them".

Cub Scouts and Brownie troops also made gifts and cards for the departing soldiers. Seven year old Sarah Graham helped make a poster.

"We wanted them to know that we all love them and hope they win," she said.

Their mission could take them to the sands of Iraq. But wherever the Guardsmen go, they will know the people of Stone County are with them in spirit, and are hoping for their safe return.

"We'll take all this really good support we've gotten here, and I think it'll keep our morale high when we're out doing our duty," Detachment Commander Phillip Moseley said.

"It touched my heart just to see all the kids out here. It encouraged me to stay strong and just go forward and do our jobs and come back home," guardsman Carlos Bell said.

"The prayers, the hearts and every good wish of the people of Stone County that you're defending, your families, your friends, your neighbors, those that you don't even know, go with you," District 5 Supervisor Duncan Hatten prayed.

Stone County is also forming a support group to help ease the stress and anxiety for the soldiers' families, while their loved ones are away.