Waynesboro remembers favorite son killed in Afghanistan

Army Sgt. Eric Newman
Army Sgt. Eric Newman

By Doug Walker – bio | email

WAYNESBORO, MS (WLOX) - The streets of Waynesboro are lined with hundreds of American flags, and dozens of light poles are adorned with yellow ribbons. It's all to honor the memory of Army Sgt. Eric Newman.

Those who knew him, remember a man who loved his family, life, and the quiet county lifestyle.

Mayor Joe Taylor remembers better days.

"Well, I knew him personally," Taylor said. "I've known the boy all his life and I always called him my little buddy. And he was just an outstanding young man."

And the mayor said the city is coming together to honor one its own.

"It seems to bring everybody closer together in a situation like this, and the whole community, not just the city but the whole county, it just kind of brings everybody together."

Everyone we talked to today had nothing but great words to say about Eric Newman, calling him a fine outstanding young man, who was tuned into service to his country, even before he joined the military, including serving as a police officer.

James Bunch is the Waynesboro police chief.

"Eric was a good police officer when he worked here," Bunch said. "He had a dedication to duty that was unparalleled. He always believed in doing the right thing and pursuing justice.  He left here in August of '05 to pursue his military career."

John Gunn is the city attorney, and knew Eric Newman better than most.

"Eric was almost like a second son to me," Gunn recalled.  "I have a son and the last time he was home before he was deployed to Afghanistan, he and I went fishing together and had a long talk, and it hurts."

And Gunn said the Army Sgt. also felt something was wrong in Afghanistan, and voiced his concerns to his mother.

"He let her know that it was different, and that he didn't like the situation, that he just didn't know who the enemy was. And he said I will be glad when I can get out of here and get home."

And Newman will be coming home soon, not the way anyone wanted, but a hero nonetheless.

This was Newman's second deployment, the first one in Iraq where he was injured and received the Purple Heart.  He leaves behind a wife, mother and sister, as well as other relatives.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time, but Newman will be buried with full military honors.

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