July 20, 2006 - Posted at 5:41 p.m. CDT
PARAGOULD, AR - Saturday members of the 875th Engineer Battalion will be leaving for deployment to Iraq. Signs of support for the troops are everywhere and Thursday night, the soldiers and their families are being honored with an appreciation dinner at the ASU Convocation Center.
It's not hard to find a sign of patriotism in Region 8. Highway 49 in Paragould is lined with flags and signs wishing the troops well.
"As you travel around you will see flags being put up banners in support for those who are leaving," said Sue McGowan of the Paragould Chamber of Commerce.
Many area businesses are feeling the deployment first hand. Paragould's Wellsco will miss employee Sgt. James Stacey when he leaves Saturday with the 875th. That's why everyone is doing their part to show patriotism.
"Obviously we support our troops and we just wanted everyone to know where our heart is. That's why we are supporting the 875th," said Trenton Cooper who works at Wellsco.
Symbols of support for the 875th are all across Region 8 as good neighbors come together to encourage their military families.
"I have never seen an outpouring like I have seen in Northeast Arkansas I think it says something about the caliber of people here and their allegiance to the country," said Cooper.
Despite the smoldering temperatures, the residents of Sunshine Manor are preparing to do whatever they can to give troops a happy sendoff.
"There's not a lot we can do for them personally, but we can give them our support and our prayers. Wish them the best and hope everything will turn out for the best," said Maurice Bateman, a World War II veteran.
Several residents of Sunshine Manor are veterans themselves so they understand first hand what this support can mean.