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, April 15, 2006

Minus 55 Days - Married and Preparing for Marriage

Thanks to everybody who has emailed asking if everything's OK in Wayne's World. Yes, we're fine, and especially grateful that Wayne has made such a smooth transition back to civilian life. He reports for Alpha Company's first drill since their return from Iraq the first weekend of May.

Since we last posted, kidnapped journalist Jill Carroll was released by her captors. Our readers joined thousands of others praying for her release. In fact, one of our brief emails to her was published in the CS Monitor and broadcast on CNN. We join her parents in thanking everyone who supported their successful efforts to see their daughter returned safely.

In our own family, things have stayed busy. Since our last post, Wayne grandmother, GG, married Wilford Pickett. Shortly afterward, they moved to their new home in Hot Springs Village, America's largest gated community.

The Picketts' new home overlooks the Ouachita Mountains, a special delight for GG, who has longed to live near mountains ever since she left her childhood home in north Georgia.

About the same time, our friends and mentors, Dr. and Mrs. George Monta, came to Hot Springs to perform my official ordination to Christian Ministry. Other friends and family joined us from Louisiana for the ceremony held at Lookout Point Lakeside Inn.

Shortly after that, our good friends and former Soldiers Angels, Bill and Ellen Walker, along with Von and Beaure Talbot, hosted a lovely cocktail buffet shower for Wayne and Lauren.

The night of the shower, our Hot Springs friends braved a torrential rainstorm to enjoy Ellen and Von's gracious hospitality and good food, as well as to honor Wayne and Lauren.

Other than that, we've made a couple of trips to the coast - one to Florida, another to Califonia.

Next week, we're headed to Albuquerque.

Happy Easter, everyone!