Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Day 42 - Ellen J. Walker, Soldier's Angel Commander

Ellen J. Walker, Hot Springs' original Soldier's Angel, officially adopted Wayne during the Christmas holidays.  Posted by Hello

In a characteristically maternal message to her children, she writes in an email:

"At a time when some of our media is so corrupt, to the point of broadcasting blatant lies, it behooves us all to try to find out for ourselves what the truth is about conditions, morale, etc. I urge you to take this journey with us and to adopt Wayne as "your man in Iraq." When you are taking a shower or driving to work or having your beer or glass of wine, as the end of your day...just send him good wishes and then ask our heavenly Father to protect him from harm. These small acts of caring will bless Wayne and you, as well.

One day, when Wayne has returned and is here visiting, I hope that he will come sit at the bar and see his picture and know that he wasn't on his journey alone. I want him to know that I appreciate his putting his life on the line to defend our homeland. He must have had to face his deepest fears and that, in itself, will be a blessing to his character in his years to come."

Would that the world were full of Angels like Ellen! Earlier today, she organized a packing brigade as the culmination to weeks of collecting "care package" supplies for soldiers of Alpha Company, 150th Combat Engineers.