Sumter soldier says thank you - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sumter soldier says thank you

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May 2, 2006

Americus-- It's been a few days since Georgia National Guard troops came home but the overwhelming joy continues for them and their families. While we're thankful for their service, the troops are thankful for the support shown here at home. One soldier just wants to say thank you.

Still wearing his uniform, Staff Sergeant Edward Jackson is once again home. "It feels great, feels great to get back and see your family," says Jackson.

Now he's visiting what could be called his second home and a second family. "To know that people back here care about our mission, care what we're doing," says Jackson. Jackson is one of Sumter Regional Hospital's adopted soldiers. While he was overseas, they sent him everything from big boxes of food to small tokens.

"We'd write him letters. He'd respond to us," says Sumter Regional's Brandon Crandall.

"Coming off a mission, a three or four day mission and you're tired and here's a box from some people back here, it really meant a lot," says Jackson. For that encouragement, he wants to give back. He visited the hospital with gifts for employees.

"I came up with the idea that they were doing so much for me when I was gone, a little gratitude to show them I'm thankful," says Jackson. He's thankful for what they did for him and his family. The hospital also looked out for his wife and daughter.

"They were always calling to make sure we were o.k. and we didn't need anything," says Mia Jackson.

8-year-old Jailyn is just thrilled to spend time with Daddy. She now places her small hands in his, the same place she placed her faith. She says she didn't worry.

"Not that much. But I knew he was doing what he was supposed to do," says Jailyn. That proof now sits on shelves at the Jackson's second home at Sumter Regional. The pictures show Jackson in uniform.

"He's really a hero now," says Marcus Johnson. A hero that who was remembered every day he was gone.

"Hopefully we can keep it going," says Jackson. For that, he's thankful.

Sumter Regional adopted more than 40 soldiers. They'll honor them at a charity basketball game this Friday.

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