Returning Troops Say Thanks For The Hometown Support - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/20/05

Returning Troops Say Thanks For The Hometown Support

Last week members of the Greenville based 114th National Guard Unit, which includes several soldiers from South Mississippi, returned home from their deployment in Iraq.

They spent a long and dangerous year fending off insurgent attacks while making improvements at the once notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

It was a mission they say was made much easier to endure, due to the tremendous support they received from the home front.

The 23 members of the 114th survived hundreds of mortar and rocket attacks, not to mention world wide scrutiny as they cleaned up the mess at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

You don't really have to prompt them much, for them to tell you how much those letters, packages, e mails and phone calls from home meant to them during the past year.

"Lord have mercy," says Kelly Payson of Hattiesburg.

"You couldn't have received any better support. Friends, family, loved ones, family support organizations, it was great. We had more goodies and life support items than you can possibly imagine," Payson added.

Greg Crosby of Gulfport agrees.

"I would really like to say thanks to all the support that we received from home," he said.

The returning soldiers from the 114th say support from south Mississippi was both widespread and overwhelming.

One of those sources of support was right here at Bayou View Baptist Church in Gulfport.

"Bayou View Baptist Church, my home church has just been unbelievable in taking care of our family and the attention on the troops," says Crosby.

"It's not just me. Everybody received that," Crosby added.

Bayou View Pastor Tommy Mosser says along with supporting his wife and two children emotionally and financially, Greg received something else, a prayer he shared every week with his entire congregation.

"Greg had given us a scripture verse that he has on his hummer that he reads every day when he's driving and so what we did basically was read that together as a church and we prayed for him each day," says Mosser.

A prayer that has now been answered.

By Don Culpepper

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