Valdosta family honors their fallen hero - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta family honors their fallen hero

October 9, 2006

Valdosta - October 3rd began like any other day for Ulrica Ellis.

Then she answered a knock on her door with news that her worst nightmare had come true.  "When I opened my room though, I already knew because I saw one to many family members standing there and so I knew from that moment," she says.

Her husband, 25-year-old Staff Sgt. James Ellis, had been in Iraq since December 11th serving with the Army on his second tour of duty.  He was killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Baghdad.  "When they sat me down and started telling me, they opened their photo folder and I knew," she cries.  " They only show a picture if he passed, not if he's been in an accident.  They only show it if he passed so I knew."

Ellis was due home by December 1st, excited to spend the holidays with his daughter Janiayah who he had only seen for one month since she 3 months old.  "This would be our first Christmas together and we had to spend it in Texas so we were planning on celebrating our first Christmas out there together."

Now, she'll struggle to keep her husband's memory alive to remind Janiayah that her father is a true hero, laying down his life for his family and his country.  "How will I explain to her?  I don't know.  I just don't know."

The funeral for Sgt. Ellis will be held 3:00 PM on October 15th at Greater Union Baptist Church in Valdosta.

21-year-old Justin Jarrett of Jonesboro, Georgia, was also killed in the bombing.

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