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Guard sendoff was top-notch

Dear editor, The Times:

On January 10th, the 2101st Transportation Company, Alabama National Guard, headquartered in Demopolis departed for Fort Dix, N.J. The unit will be conducting final training and processing for assignment to Iraq. The 2101st has detachments in Butler and Aliceville. The deployment ceremony held the day before at the Demopolis High School gym was filled to capacity with family, friends and others from their communities. The unit had extensive training for about a year for active duty in support of Operation: Iraqi Freedom.

Marengo County Disabled American Veterans Chapter 31 and Marengo Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5377 initiated an effort to provide refreshments for the reception after the deployment ceremony. This task would have been done by family members of the unit. The Demopolis community united to enable those family members to spend more time with the troops. We would like to thank those who help make it all a great success showing our community gratitude and support for our troops and their family members.

Gelean Wicks of the Farmhouse Restaurant in Demopolis was our chief planner and organizer.

She was assisted greatly by Tonya Glass and Mary Ann Pickel. Contribution of funds and refreshments was made by DAV Chapter 31, VFW Post 5377, Lisman VFW Post 5848, Robertson Banking Company, Sweet Water State Bank, BankTrust, Colony Office Products, Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital, Demopolis Wal-Mart, Southern Care, Marengo County Farmers Federation and Jennifer and Victoria Belcher. Please forgive me if I forget anyone.

We would also like to thank Gene Guy for having his friend Santa Claus attend the 2101st Family Day and Christmas party held in December at the Demopolis armory.

During the deployment of the unit, the 2101st Family Readiness Group will be holding events to support and provide information to family members.

As these events are planned, we will be needing assistance from the community. All help will be most appreciated.

Lee Belcher

Commander, DAV Chapter 31