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.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Day 226 - Peaceful Easy Feeling

Wayne and Lauren were 'out front' at Outback Steakhouse last night for their first meal in Hot Springs since he arrived stateside last Friday for his 15-day rest and recuperation leave. Outback General Manager Dave Hanson hosted us, congratulating Wayne and Lauren on their recent engagement and thanking Wayne for his service to our country.

After we got home, Myron turned in early, while Momma stayed up and watched Batman Begins with the kids.

Myron left early this morning to make his 7 a.m. tee time. After the rest of us slept in, we enjoyed a lazy Saturday morning breakfast, complete with all Wayne's favorites.
This afternoon, we'll start our Labor Day festivities at the 2005 Bluesfest, sponsored by the Spa City Blues Society. All proceeds will benefit Hurricane Relief.
Magic Springs will host Wayne and Lauren tonight when they join their friends for a Pat Green concert. The amuzement park is also extending free admission to all refugees and their families. (I'll be playing cello for a wedding at Garvan Woodland Gardens.)


We received an email last night from Greyhawk over at Mudville Gazette, asking us to post these helpful links for military families dealing with the aftermath of Katrina. Take time to read the story they posted today with Glenn Reynolds' comment,
"Unfortunately, (that's) how disaster planning usually works. One of my friends was in charge of disaster planning for his county -- as a college summer intern -- and I remember him saying that the goal was basically to have a document you could point to if asked, not to generate anything that would actually be used."

- Department of Defense site lists contact info for military families displaced by Katrina (also a great collection of news releases on the military efforts in hurricane relief).

- National Guard Family Program lists info for Guard families impacted by the storm.

- The Guard Experience provides info for getting deployed Guard members in touch with their families who might be displaced by the storm - and vice versa.