Jacksonville Native Adjusting To Life After Serving In Iraq
He spent nearly a year in one of the most dangerous places on earth, the Sunni Triangle. And now, a Jacksonville native is adjusting to life back home. Lieutenant Rodney Kelly, who now lives in Forney just outside of Dallas, earned a bronze star during his time in Iraq. Since coming back home last month he has plenty to look forward to: fatherhood. Lieutenant Kelly and his wife say they can't wait to start this new chapter in their life.
Lieutenant Kelley, who grew up in Jacksonville, spent 11 months in Iraq. During that time, the 30-year-old earned a bronze star, a medal awarded in combat operations. "One guy got hurt really bad. But, you know, he's back doing well," said Kelley. On May 25th, Kelley's convoy was hit by a bomb. During that horrific event, he saved an injured soldier and captured three insurgents. "Additionally, there was another IED on the road. We were able to find and spread everybody out before they were able to detonate it and injure more people," he said.
Rodney says the hardest part of being in Iraq was not being able to communicate with his family. "I would try to call at least every couple of days or e-mail every day. I would try to send something every day. That wasn't always possible," he said.
Rodney's wife, Misty, says the days she didn't hear from Rodney were really tough. "Those days that I couldn't hear from him I was glued to the TV," said Misty. "I was just wanting information, wanting to know that it wasn't him."
Since Rodney's return from Iraq in December, the Kelleys are getting ready to take on a new mission: parenthood. "It's funny how things work out, you know. A year ago, I didn't think I'd be able to survive with him in Iraq. And he made it home safely and we're going to have a new beginning with a new baby," said Misty. A "delivery", they're ready and eager to receive.
For the time being, Lieutenant Kelley is working for the Texas National Guard in Dallas. His wife is getting her nursing degree here in Tyler. She's set to graduate in December. Their baby is due in September.