October 3, 2007 Edition

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875th receives warm welcome

Sgt. John Jordan of Hoxie and his wife Margarett share an emotional embrace. Jordan was a member of the 875th Engineering Battalion, which returned to Jonesboro on Saturday following a year-long deployment in Iraq.
Submitted Photo ~ Nikki Davis
Amber Adams
Staff Writer

Just over a year ago nearly 400 soldiers left for a yearlong deployment following training time at Fort McCoy, Wis. On Saturday, hundreds of friends, family members and neighbors came to the armory in Jonesboro to welcome the 875th Engineering Battalion's A and B Companies home. Thousands of people lined the highways to wave flags and ribbons as the two companies rolled through Jonesboro.

Several families from Lawrence County waited impatiently for the buses to arrive. Cell phones were abuzz with calls and text messages as the group got closer to the armory. Every leg of the road family members could be heard reporting the progress, "They're at Trumann! They're at Bay! They're on Caraway!"

When the buses arrived shouts drowned out the wailing sirens on the police escorts. Family and friends rushed to the doors to greet the troops as they off-loaded.

Among those there to greet the soldiers was the Patterson family. Joshua Patterson, 20, of Alicia enlisted in the National Guard right after high school. His parents, Randy and Donna Patterson, along with his brothers and sisters, Katie, Joy, John David and Bethany, all went to meet him Saturday morning. Josh's oldest brother, Donnie, and his wife, Heather, were not able to be there.

"My stomach is just doing flip flops," said Donna as she waited for the bus to arrive. "We can't wait to see him."

Lloyd Clark, his wife, Barbara, and their daughter, Jennifer, along with their two foreign exchange students, Yin-Tzu Chang and Hye-Sung Lee, were also at the armory to welcome home Kenneth Clark who was returning from his second tour in Iraq. Kenneth served a year with the 39th Infantry Brigade at Camp Taji, Iraq. This time he was at Camp Stryker near Baghdad International Airport with the Headquarters of the 875th.

Ben Robinett of Black Rock was greeted by his son, Jared, daughter, Ranie, and wife, Stephanie.

Margarett Black-Jordan and her husband, Sgt. John Jordan of Hoxie, shared a warm embrace as he stepped off the bus on Saturday. Margarett and Spec. Alvin Lewis' wife, DeAnna, of Smithville, worked with other local soldiers' wives to collect items for care packages for the Lawrence County soldiers while they were stationed in Iraq.

Josh Hill, a Sloan-Hendrix graduate was welcomed home by several members of his family including his brother, Clayton, who served a year in Iraq with the 39th Infantry Brigade, his parents and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

Major Michael Henderson who is originally from Imboden, and now lives in Bono, was greeted by his daughter, Hallie, his wife, Tana, and his mother, Judy. Henderson said words couldn't express how happy he was to be home.

When asked how he felt about being home, Anthony Carter of Hoxie said, "Wonderful. It's like a totally different world over there ... Walnut Ridge has never looked so good."

"We've been in the states for a week," said Robert Causey, "but I wasn't really home until I saw my wife." Though he is from Piggott, Causey has several friends and family members who live in Walnut Ridge and Hoxie.

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