Henderson County Says "Thank You" To Troops - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/30/05-Athens

Henderson County Says "Thank You" To Troops

Thank you.
A message hundreds in Henderson County turned out to say face to face with soldiers home from the battlefield.
A homecoming celebration in Athens Saturday night, praised the heroic acts of every Henderson County soldier home from Iraq.
Twelve soldiers were on hand for the celebration, but dozens more on the minds of all who attended.
For the folks of Henderson county no "thank you" would ever be enough for their soldiers.
"We're repaying the favor," said Peggy Dewberry, mother of a soldier. "We can't do what they did for us but we're just hoping this will show them a little bit how much we appreciate what they did for us.
But in grand fashion, the music, food, applause and even tears said more than words ever could.
"Every time we see the community come together to say thank you, you know somebody on the street says thank you, it really makes us realize, how much, how important it was for us to go over there," said US Army Staff Sergeant Bradrick Graves.
The soldiers missed birthdays, New Year's, even Christmas. However, Saturday night every holiday was celebrated with their East Texas family.
Some are family men. Little Aidan Mondragon knew the far away country his dad had fought in. "Iraq," Aidan exclaimed.
"I wasn't expecting this at all," his father, Sergeant Aaron Mondragon said. "It's just truly great to see this."
"The community, seeing them come together, still once he is home, it's great," his wife, Katrina Mndragon said.
The celebration was the brain child of Kay Fitzgerald. The big welcome home for her son, extended to other sons, brothers and fathers.
"I knew that they would help us out," Kay said of Henderson County residents. "It began to fall in place and you see what happened."
A mother beaming with pride, a son who shares those feelings.
"I'm very proud, very proud of her," said Corporal Jason Fitzgerald, Kay's son. "I've always have been."
Jason presented his mother with a rose. "It's the least I could do for what she's done for me," he said.
Saturday night's celebration was the least the Henderson County community could do for the young men and women that serve their country.
The names of soldiers who could not be present at Saturday's event were also read and honored. Corporal Jason Fitzgerald said when it comes to Mother's Day next week, he's got his work cut out for him.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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