October 12-- It was a week ago that the family of Army Green Beret Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright of Toombs County was notified that he and three of his comrades had been killed in an ambush in Africa.
Thursday night at Booster Stadium in Lyons, the community paid homage to the four dead soldiers before the Bulldogs played Benedictine Academy.
Dustin's family at Booster Stadium.
"We wanted to honor one of our own and what better way that at a football game. It's the community coming together and wanting to do something for Dustin and his family and we want to make sure it's for all four, so we're honoring all four. We're Americans. That's what we do," said Toombs County High School Athletic Director Bill Benton.
With the colors presented by cadets from the local Thunderbolt Junior ROTC Regiment, Army Staff Sergeant Edward Roller spoke to the Wright family which was gathered at mid-field.
"He grew up in Lyons and graduated from Toombs County High School in 2007 playing both football and baseball for the mighty Bulldogs. After college, Dustin enlisted in the Army in 2012 and became an engineer for the Green Berets. He won numerous awards including the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and he earned the Special Forces Tab and Parachutist Badge
"We are honored to have Staff Sergeant Wright's family with us tonight and we ask you to stand as we honor these four heroes who gave their last full measure of devotion while serving our nation," he said.
The Bulldog's team chaplain, Reverend Steven Toole, offered prayer, "We thank you for their service and great sacrifice. We thank you for their example of selflessness and a willingness to give their life so that others may live free. We thank you for the example of love as they lived out your word...Greater Love Has No Man Than This Than to Lay Down One's Life for One's Friends."
One of Dustin's brothers, Will, spoke for the family and said, "It's indescribable. It's great to see a community pull together like this. It just demonstrates how strong our nation is and the values we're built on. It's time we get back to that."
Dustin's funeral will be held in Toombs County once his body is released and returned home by the Army on a date to be announced. Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home of Vidalia will be in charge of the local arrangements.
(Photos Courtesy Barry Dotson)