East Texans gather to honor Staff Sgt. Chauncy Mays - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texans gather to honor Staff Sgt. Chauncy Mays

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

WINNSBORO, TX (KLTV) – After being delayed because of the weather in Afghanistan, a fallen East Texas soldier is finally home.

The body of Army Staff Sergeant Chauncy Mays was flown into Greenville Wednesday morning, then driven to Winnsboro.

East Texans lined the roads to pay their respects.

As the plane touched down, American flags waved and hundreds watched from the airport tarmac.

Staff Sergeant Chauncy Mays is home.

His widow, Katherine, has a remarkable sense of understanding for her husband's love of country.

"I don't know if I expressed to him enough how proud I was of him, but, I'm very proud of him," she said.

Chauncy's 3-year-old daughter waved an American flag as her father's coffin, draped in red, white, and blue was lifted from the plane.

Katherine watched as her husband's body was prepared for its final journey home.

"He made sure to tell me at least once a day that he loved me and for me to tell the kids that he loved them and to give them kisses," Katherine recalled.

In Winnsboro, mourners lined the streets for two miles. Hundreds were just strangers waiting to pay their respects to the fallen soldier.

"I didn't know this young gentleman, but if he can fight for my freedom, I can come out here to honor him," LeAnn Sparks expressed.

"We're here today to welcome one of our brother's home. He gave his life for our country," said Vietnam vet Gerald Mann.

A life his widow says he gave proudly.

Katherine says she has to be strong for their two little girls who are now forced to say goodbye.

"Just the realization that I won't be able to see him come home and pretty much to move on as a single mom," Katherine expressed.

Nearly 500 people stood tall, in hopes of Chauncy's little girls knowing just how important their father was to so many people.

Visitation for Staff Sergeant Mays will be Thursday from 6-9 at Beaty Funeral Home in Winnsboro.

The funeral is Friday at 2 pm, at Lake Fork Baptist Church in Yantis.

Copyright 2011 KLTV. All rights reserved.    

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