48th Brigade member gets a big welcome - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

48th Brigade member gets a big welcome

May 1, 2006

Albany -- Another welcome home celebration for one member of the 48th Brigade today, after his return from one year's deployment to Iraq.

Lee County's David Pate went to visit his co-workers, but he didn't know they were ready with a suprise greeting.

Phoebe Putney Hospital emergency room employees lie in wait, ready to welcome Specialist David Pate. Dozens of his hospital co-workers let the 21-year-old emergency room tech know how proud they are of him, on his return from service in Iraq.

"They got me pretty good," Pate said. "I don't know most of ya'll. I'm glad you came. Thanks, it means a lot. Having all the support and everything."

The Lee County native served as a medic with the Georgia Army National Guard's 48th Brigade. He and many of his commrades were honored across South Georgia, then with a city-wide welcome home at their Headquarters Friday.

But his co-workers wanted to give Pate a personal honor today. "It made me proud that I was going home, made it home, and I was able to go and support the country and the state like I did," Pate said.

"We are just so grateful he is back, and he's safe and he's alive. And we are very proud of him," said Co-worker Cindy Kennedy.

"I was with an infantry unit, so I had thirty guys with me. They took care of me, and I did my best to take care of them," Pate said.

Pate says after a month off, he will return to work at the Hospital, and as an EMT in Lee County. But he has long term plans and dreams. "I am going back to paramedic school. Become a paramedic, and maybe go later on down the road go fly an Apache or a Blackhawk for the military," said Pate.

Pate turned 21 in Iraq, and he admits did a lot of growing up in the war torn country. His co-workers say he is a special man, and they wanted to show him how happy they are he is home again.

Pate said many of the injuries he treated in Iraq were the same kind of situations he has faced as an EMT in South Georgia, but he said the experience he gained will be beneficial.

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