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, November 05, 2005

Day 292 - Hello-ho-ho!

Wayne showed up online this morning, asking for gift suggestions to help complete his Christmas shopping online.

“Everything’s being shipped to your house, so don’t be rummaging through the boxes!” he warned with a Yahoo “audible” attached to his text. The Ultimate Christmas Groupie, Wayne always plays “Santa” on Christmas morning, passing out presents to whatever extended family is gathered for the holiday.

In addition to two new daughters-in-law this year, we also have a new grandson on the scene. Add Wayne and Lauren's pending wedding next summer, and we’re experiencing some of the same growing pains as every family who has lots of folks to love! One thing we’ve learned is people are more important than stuff, so through the years, we’ve cut back on the stuff to save time and energy for traveling and hugging. This year will be indescribably delicious if Wayne makes it back in time to don his Santa hat!

One of our family’s Christmas morning traditions is to eat Padow’s Virginia Cured Country Ham on hot biscuits with one hand, and Aunt Les’s famous Cream Cheese Braids with the other. Just kidding about the two-fisted eating, but sometimes it seems that way, since Christmas is the ONLY time of year we eat either treat! (I called to get the recipe just now, but Les isn’t home, and her crew won’t share family secrets without getting permission first, which we understand.)

On another note, journalist blogger Michael Yon reports Bruce Willis has been to Iraq with his band and the USO, and is now following events in Mosul through Yon’s dispatches. “One of the finest and most successful actors in the world, Willis has expressed his desire to support our troops to me on numerous occasions. Read his website to see how strongly he feels about this,” urges Yon.