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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Minus 128 Days - We're Jazzed!

For 16 months, Uncle Sam has held up the yellow ribbon in our front yard, showing our support for Wayne until he returned from Iraq. Although he actually arrived at Camp Shelby on December 22, it wasn’t until this past weekend he came to “Momma’s house” in Hot Springs for the official yellow ribbon cutting ceremony.

Rain on Saturday turned into sunny and mild weather on Sunday. After sharing communion and Wayne’s favorite breakfast, we all headed to Isabella , one of eight golf courses at Hot Springs Village, the country’s largest gated community. The other three golfers in the foursome agreed our returning soldier would shoot par or below before the match ever started.

Sunday evening, Wayne and Lauren arrived to a standing ovation at the Hot Springs Jazz Society’s annual membership dinner and dance, as president Bob Seekatz thanked him for his service on behalf of the United States. Throughout the evening, blog readers and other friends congratulated Wayne on his return. He’s probably never been hugged and kissed by so many mature ladies since his arrival at the Dallas airport when he came home on leave in September!

The house is relatively quiet again, except for Angel, our canine boarder who has been a guest while Wayne’s grandmother has been out of town.

Debra, Wayne’s adopted aunt who enjoyed touches of Wayne’s humor throughout the weekend, is also still here making plans to move to Hot Springs in the near future. She and I are leaving today, headed to Florida to finalize plans for Wayne’s rehearsal dinner. My guess is we’ll drive through Louisiana close enough to drop off the computer he left at “Momma’s house.”