Region 8 Soldier Honored

March 11, 2004--Posted at 6:15 p.m. CST

HICKORY RIDGE, AR-- Allegiance, honor, and pride, the pledge came alive for students at Hickory Ridge Elementary School as they experienced first hand, what it means to serve your nation.

They welcomed home one of their own, a Hickory Ridge graduate, now Private First Class, Brent Phillips, who's been serving with the 101st Airborne in Iraq.

"We wanted the children to see that this is a person just like them," said teacher Laurie Fowler.  "As much as much as it was for Brent it was for our children to see an American hero and a person they can see as a role model."

"He did his duty to protect our country," said Wade Halk. "He got shot in the arm and in the head, but his helmet deflected it.  I was kind of proud that he could come out here before he had to leave."

On the day after Christmas Private Phillips' patrol was ambushed and he was awarded a purple heart.

" It was wonderful, it was great," said Phillips.  "Thank you and I love all you people.  Ya'll are some great people.  It's great to have a good town like this behind you."

Phillips reports for duty again tomorrow, headed out to Fort Campbell.  He says he's not sure when he'll be sent back to Iraq.