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.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Minus 108 Days - Warm Thoughts in Icy Weather

Temperatures plunged in Arkansas this weekend, driving most folks inside for a long winter’s nap. For us, even church was cancelled.

Speaking of church, my sister, Teresa, forwards the online version of her church’s weekly newsletter to the family every Friday. This week, she tagged a couple of sentences tucked away in her pastor’s remarks with this question, “Guess whose little girl he’s talking about?”
(The pastor is speaking of her daughter, Sarah, Wayne’s 7-year-old cousin.)
It's Thursday afternoon and I am still basking in the glow of our Global Impact Celebration…Already some have shared with me incredible stories about their Faith Promises. One little girl made a Faith Promise of about $40, which is her entire savings. After hearing how some people in Haiti eat mud to survive, she was moved to give all she has to global outreach.
In a follow-up email, Teresa shared, "Sarah said a prayer at lunch that Sunday thanking God for her food, and prayed 'for those who sometimes have to eat dirt to fill their bellies.' She continued, her asking God 'to give them the faith to suffer through it.'"

Actually, our family comprises a history of faithful Christian servants, including pastors, music ministers and classroom teachers. In preparation for additional responsibilities, I’ll be formally ordained to Christian ministry March 2 by my good friend and mentor, Dr. George Monta, who will be arriving with his wife Thursday. We've planned the ceremony at Lookout Point Lakeside Inn, a beautiful bed and breakfast inn here in Hot Springs, owned by Ray and (Rev!) Kristie Rosset.

While the Montas are here, we’ll travel to Louisiana this weekend to celebrate my mother's marriage to Wilford Pickett, a true southern gentleman and Baptist deacon from Delhi, LA, who swept mom off her feet last fall. The day after Christmas, while seated near a window viewing the fireworks from Cinderella’s Palace at Disneyworld, Wilford admitted to her, “That’s how you make me feel, and nothing would make me happier than for you to become my wife so that we can spend the rest of our lives together.” (Awwwww!)

Today, I’m scrambling to finish the March issue of Hot Springs Life & Home magazine before I fly out tomorrow to squeeze in a press tour to Honor Mansion, a beautiful bed and breakfast inn located in Sonoma wine country, 60 miles north of San Francisco.

Down in Louisiana, where the roads weren’t quite so treacherous this weekend, Wayne and Lauren were either studying or getting ready to study for their first statistics exam on Wednesday. Otherwise, everything seems to be progressing right on schedule for their wedding in June.