Coffee Co. mourns loss of guardsman - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Coffee Co. mourns loss of guardsman

August 5, 2005

Coffee County- A hand-written letter will now become part of Martha Meeks' collection of memories of her 21 year old grandson.

"He said nobody has confirmed it yet, but I know we will have to go to Iraq for at least a year. A year ago I would not have gone, but now if I'm needed in Iraq that's where I'll be. No questions asked. This place makes you love your country and your freedom," Meeks reads.

She affectionately remembers her grandson as a ham who loved to be noticed.

"He just had the best hugs anybody could have because he's a big, tall guy and here I'm this short, little grandma, and he would be so sweet," Meeks says.

But to his comrades he'll be remembered as Spc. Mathew Gibbs, a young soldier who died serving his country.

"We've got several boys that are over there now from this little community. The population is 300. We all know each other. We're close-knit, and we just want to do something to honor the boys that we've got over there," says Ambrose Mayor Jerry Paulk.

Gibbs, who lived in Ambrose, leaves behind a wife and two daughters. City leaders have issued a proclamation ordering all flags to be flown at half-mast until September 5th.

"To all the families that lost someone. This is not only for him, but for all of them," says Mayor Pro Tem Brad Vickers.

Though she and her family will miss Gibbs, Meeks says she's proud that her grandson was willing to sacrifice for others.

"The things that he's done or the very effort that he's made is the thing that we talk about all the time. We talk about we want to be patriotic and love our country. He has shown that through his sacrifice of his life. That was a major sacrifice, and we're really just going to miss him a lot," she says.

Funeral arrangements will not be finalized until Gibbs' remains return to the United States, but services will be handled by Sims Funeral Home.

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