Category: A - Newsbreaks
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November 20--UPDATE:  The welcome home event planned for local National Guardsmen has been cancelled because their flight back home has been delayed at least 12 hours.  Local organizers say they don't expect them to arrive back in Toombs County until at least midnight Saturday.  Still, if you'd like to put a welcome home sign, yellow ribbon or flag in your yard for them, your encouraged to do so.  However, there will be no welcome home event at Partin Park as originally planned.

November 19--  Seven National Guardsmen from this area are returning home from Afghanistan Saturday and local residents are being encouraged to help welcome them back.

{mosimage}One of those returning is Sergeant First Class Drayton Dowd from Cedar Crossing.  His brother, Marvin Dowd, and his motorcyle club, the Toombstone Brothers, plan to meet the soldiers after they leave Fort Gordon and escort them on their bikes down U.S. One to Lyons.

"A lot of people don't realize how much they sacrifice to go over there.  It not only affects the soldiers, it affects the wives and the children and upsets the whole family because they have jobs of their own that they have to leave," he notes.

This is Sergeant Dowd's second overseas deployment and it's been a tough one accordng to his wife, Kathy, because he's missed something that most Dad's take for granted.

"This was kind of a rough deployment on my husband .  Our son, Brandon, is a senior this year and he plays football for Toombs County High School and Drayton missed all of his games," she said.

The seven are expected to arrive at Partin Park in Lyons around 4:30 or 5 p.m. Saturday and Kathy hopes folks in and around Lyons will put out signs, flags or yellow ribbons along U.S. One and even stop by the park to welcome them home.

"Just basically come out and show your support and show you appreciate them.  Many folks I've talked to so far are going to have flags in their yards or yellow ribbons.  Maybe you can even make a little sign and put it in your yards because you'd be surprised what a little sign can mean to a person whose been gone," she said.

The other soldiers are twins Tracy Rapp of Vidalia and Travis Rapp of Reidsville, Doc Hackle from Johnson Corner, Alvin Smiley of Reidsville, Scott Andrews of Cedar Crossing and Jeff Logan from Jesup.