Soldiers continue protection of border - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Soldiers continue protection of border

July 4, 2006

Albany-- For 230 years, the Fourth of July has marked the United States' declaration of independence from Great Britain. Many fought for the birth of America and for our freedom. Today, soldiers continue to fight to keep the United States safe and secure as many come in search of the land of the free.  

Last week, more than 150 Georgia national guard members left for the US-Mexico border. Among them were four soldiers from Albany. Their mission is to stop illegal immigrants from reaching America, a country founded centuries ago as a nation of immigrants. For one guardsman wife, this Fourth of July means a little more than in the past.  

This Fourth of July holiday didn't bring many sparks for Gloria Wilburn and her children. "In the heat, at the beach in Macon. It wasn't fun," says Wilburn.

Not a fun day because of one simple fact. "The fact he wasn't there," says Wilburn. Her husband Jeffery Wilburn just left last week.  He's one of about 150 Georgia National Guardsmen sent to protect the U.S.-Mexico border. Back here at home, Gloria is still trying to adjust.

"I'm trying, I'm trying," says Wilburn.

It's hard, and his mission comes at a difficult time.  The couple are in the middle of adopting 17-month-old twins Andre and Andrea. Both have asthma and their Mom is now left with a handful.

"Normally he would go pay the bills, run errands, get the medicine, get their formula, all the good stuff like that," says Wilburn. But she also finds the good in him being gone.  While Independence Day is different for her this year, she supports the reason behind his absence. His job is to protect the US from illegal immigrants who are looking for their own independence.

"Some just feel better over here and he just has to do what he has to do. If they say, stand at the border line, that's what he has to do," says Wilburn. So what she has to do now is be both Mom and Dad. Little Andrea knows nothing about border protection or independence but she does know Dad is gone.

"Sleepless. Normally when he's off of work, he would get her and hold her and she would go to sleep on him," says Wilburn. So together, they'll continue to stay strong and pray. "Like I tell him, I always pray for you, even while you're here," says Wilburn.

This 4th of July, they're proud of a husband and father who's given up his family life to protect his country at the border.

Wilburn says the adoption of the twins could be finalized in the next month or so. She hopes her husband will be able to sign the adoption papers from New Mexico. It could be between 90 days and a year before he returns home.

The goal is to eventually have 6,000 National Guard troops on the border to provide protection.

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