Southwest Georgia soldiers spend last weekend at home - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Southwest Georgia soldiers spend last weekend at home

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Hundreds of southwest Georgia soldiers are spending their last weekend at home before they deploy to Afghanistan.

Friday several south Georgia communities paid tribute to those soldiers. In Americus, a parade was held to honor members of Delta Company, 2-121st Infantry. The effort brought out veterans, law enforcement, bands, and boy and girl scout troops. It also brought some families to tears as they come to grips with the long months ahead with their soldiers overseas.

In the shadow of a 30 by 50 foot flag, people lined Forsyth Street in Americus to let National Guard soldiers know they won't be going to Afghanistan alone. The community they leave behind, will be there for their families.

"I've been doing this 15 years, so I'm used to it, that doesn't make it any easier though, this is my fifth deployment so it doesn't matter how many I've been though it doesn't get any easier," said Tammy Dyson, Sgt. James Dyson's wife.

Decked out in red, white, and blue, some from head to toe, there were words of encouragement everywhere soldiers turned.

"This is wonderful and I think everybody should support (the troops) whether they have members in the military or not because they're serving for our peace and freedom," said Margo Mitchell, a community supporter.

Friday, soldiers got support from law enforcement and a round of applause as they passed the crowds. As the reality of what will come Monday set in, there were long embraces and tears from a few, who know saying goodbye won't come easy.

"See you later," that what Donna Hickman plans to say.

"We're proud of him, we'll be there for him when he comes home," will be the words of encouragement to Mark Hickman's son.

Soldiers say, it's exactly what they need to see and hear before they leave.

"That's one of the greatest things because otherwise if you don't have the support when you leave you don't know what you're coming to when you come back home," said Sgt. Wayne Tinsley.

It's support that won't end until these families are reunited again. Several community groups plan to put together care packages for the troops while they're in Afghanistan.

Americus soldiers will join soldiers from Albany, Cordele, Newnan, Valdosta, and Griffin overseas.

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