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.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Minus 49 Days - There's No Place Like Home

Imagine my delight when other journalists covering Albuquerque's Tricentennial Celebration told me this weekend's edition of USA TODAY recommends our hometown of Hot Springs, Ark., as a great place to houseboat.

In family news, Wayne's aunt Teresa (my sister) called yesterday with another great story about her 7-year-old daughter, Sarah Grace. Asked by her teacher to write something about 'patience,' Sarah penned, "Patience is when your cousin is in Iraq and you are waiting for him to come home safely."

Now, just how precious is that kind of faith?

Wayne has been back in the States for 122 days now. Every one of those days is precious, too.