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. Their son, Donald Wayne (Trey) West, III, was born March 19, 2007. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Day 236 - That's What Makes You Strong

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports as of Sunday, all MS National Guard soldiers' families had been contacted either by people in their communities or the soldiers themselves, according to Maj. Erby Montgomery, public affairs officer

An original list of more than 100 soldiers who had not heard from their families dwindled quickly last week as family support groups and organizations pitched in to help locate people.

Some soldiers still in Iraq delayed their scheduled leave to allow others to take emergency leave. Soldiers whose homes experienced catastrophic losses were given priority status. Regularly scheduled leave may resume as early as the end of the month, the report states.

We’re all readjusting to Wayne’s being back in Iraq. This morning, I read a delayed Instant Message from Wayne, suddenly realizing my Yahoo Messenger was off last night while he was online. (Versdesturfer!!)

Communication skills develop in different ways during a soldier's deployment.

Newly engaged, Wayne looked at Lauren one morning at breakfast here, explaining, “I’m having to learn her facial expressions now. I know every nuance of her voice and what each one means because we’ve been talking on the phone for eight months. But putting the face with the voice is all new!”

We’re all looking forward to Wayne and Lauren’s wedding next summer. Yesterday, my good friend Deb Lindley sent some powerful lyrics to a song she heard on Garrison Keillor's radio show this past Sunday.

Scroll down and click on Segment 6 of Prairie Home Companion's web site to hear the soulful sounds of Kelley Hunt singing

"That's What Makes You Strong."


If you love somebody
Then that means you need somebody
And if you need somebody
That's what makes you weak
But if you know you're weak
And you know you need someone
O it's a funny thing
That's what makes you strong

That's what makes you strong
That's what gives you power
That's what lets the meek come sit beside the king
That's what lets us smile
In our final hour
That's what moves our souls
And that's what makes us sing


And to trust somebody
Is to be disappointed
It's never what you wanted
And it happens every time
But if you're the trusting kind
This don't even cross your mind
O it's a funny thing
That's what makes you strong

That's what makes you strong
That's what gives you power
That's what lets the meek come sit beside the king
That's what lets us smile
In our final hour
That's what moves our souls
And that's what makes us sing

by Jesse Winchester
©Musique Chanteclair Inc.

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