"He had always wanted to be in the Army," says Justin Mitchell. "I mean we've got pictures of him as a child in fatigues. That was just something that was in his blood."
Sitting around the table at the Mitchell home you just know something is missing. The past six months have been like no other for this close knit Winnsboro family.
Dorinda Mitchell clearly remembers the moment her son's reserve unit headed to war in Iraq.
"You just fell like your heart is ripping out of your chest. You just have to... that is when the prayers really became from I'm going to pray for the troops to I'm going to pray for the troops. You know you see the bumper stickers pray for the troops and we always have it on our prayer request list but, when you have one it changes the depth of that prayer," says mother Dornida Mitchell. "When he first left it was...I would come home... I didn't make his bed for days. I would just go curl up in his bed and just cry. finally the prayer was Lord you have got to pick me up. You've got to get me back. I have another child that I have to deal with too."
Little sister Lindsey spent her freshman year at Texas A&M living with her big brother. Those moments and a childhood bathed in a belief that prayer works has made the long days bearable.
"It does consume your thoughts. And when you hear stuff on the news and you think oh gosh that is so close to where he is I mean it just consumes your thoughts at times" says sister Lindsey Mitchell. "I prayer for his protection. For strength for the job that he is supposed to do. I pray for our family to have the peace....
Peace doesn't always come easy. A lesson the Mitchell's have learned, life does moves on. Since Justin was deployed last year, the family has been through a series of ups and downs. Dorinda has had health problems. The family just sold two local businesses and now dad has taken a job that forces him to commute to College Station every week. But they have also learned that faith, prayer and the prayers of others really does matter. It is the glue they feel that keeps them together and steady while the missing part of this family remains in harms way.
I mean, it just brings it close to home...I've had so many people just stop and say we have never had anybody that close you know it just helps to know your not in it by yourself," says Dorinda. "I just feel with our family, our church, our community, you know we are taken care of. I mean we have that support and it's...you feel it. Everyday."
"We've been through a lot of different trials and tribulations but it is all from God," says Justin Mitchell. "The things that we've been through. There is no doubt He strengthened us through it. "I read my Bible every morning and talk to the Lord every morning. Before I start my day. And I pray every night after I go to bed. (Q: And what do you think that does for you?) It gives me the strength to get up the next morning and start again."
Friday, May 24 2013 10:21 PM EDT2013-05-25 02:21:23 GMT
From the Tyler Police Department:At approximately 5:20Pm on May 24, 2013, Tyler Police were notified of the motorcycle accident at Grande and Sutherland. The driver of a black Ford F-150 was heading east onMore >>
Rider was not wearing a helmet when she collided with a truck.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 9:18 AM EDT2013-05-25 13:18:01 GMT
Cherokee County authorities are investigating a fatal house fire Friday night. It happened just before 7:30 on County Road 3302 outside of Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Fire Department, Cherokee CountyMore >>
Happened just outside of Jacksonville on Friday night.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:59 PM EDT2013-05-25 01:59:21 GMT
A Tyler ISD bus driver was arrested Friday afternoon on drug charges.Ronald Gain, 44, of Tyler, was arrested by the Tyler Police Department on one charge of possession of a controlled substance. TylerMore >>
Has worked for the district since August of 2012.More >>