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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Residents support troops

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Kayla Martin holds sign that reads, "Honk if You Support Our Troops", Wednesday, in front of Clay County Court House. Next to her is Vanessa Fleener who said she was there because her dad, SSGT E6 James Fleener, is in Turkey.

Horns beeped and tooted Wednesday, as traffic passed the Clay County Court House. Kayla Martin held a sign reading, "Honk if you support our troops".

A crowd of nearly 50 had gathered to show their support. Pastor Olin Strader of the Calvary Baptist Church thought of the idea and announced it in church Sunday. He later explained it to a few other pastors.

"I have two sons in the military," Strader said. "One's a lieutenant in the Navy stationed in the Red Sea. The other is a major in the Army. He's in California now at the National Training Center but he's to leave soon to train Saudi Arabia troops.

"I felt that as a father I wanted to support my sons. As an American," he continued. "I was so ashamed of how we treated the Vietnam soldiers. Never again do I want to see our boys come home to that disgrace."

Pastor Strader expected, maybe, a dozen people to show up. He was overwhelmed at the size and enthusiasm of the crowd.

There were representatives from many area churches. They included: Northside Community United Methodist from Terre Haute, Calvary Baptist, First Baptist, First Christian, First Presbyterian, Family Worship Center, Croy's Creek, Nazarene, Annunciation and Christ Community, all of the Brazil area.

"I'm here to represent my boy," said Michele Ellis. "He's Jeffrey Girton and he's in Camp Doha in Kuwait."

Les Walden said he was there as a vet. He was in the Korean and Vietnam wars. The Clay County Veterans Service Officer spent his lunch hour supporting the troops.

Joanna Connors was there to support Aaron Parkins, her daughter's boyfriend. "He's in Incirlik, Turkey," she said. "My daughter, Cassandra, is at work and couldn't be here."

Pastor Strader met with the group before they dispersed for the day and asked if they wanted to continued with their support.

"They unanimously agreed," Strader said, "that they will meet here in front of the court house every Wednesday from 12 to 1 p.m. until the war is over. We encourage others to join us. I hope the line stretches from one end of Brazil to the other. We do support our troops."

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