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Last Sunday, Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church was decked out in flags and gold ribbons to honor Calhoun members of the 821st Engineering Co., who arrived back in the U.S. on Monday morning, July 7.

It was a time of celebration to thank the soldiers for their part in preserving our freedom. An open invitation was extended to members of the group, but only two were able to attend. Most of the men have missed deer hunting, Thanksgiving and Christmas, so these first weeks at home are precious to them.

The two soldiers, Robby Parsons of Pine Creek and DeWayne O’Neal of Chloe, represented other members from all parts in between, including Roy Williams of Big Bend, John Dennison of Arnoldsburg, Andy Morrison of Nobe, Bryan Gungle of Chloe, Sam Lynch of Mt. Zion, Espe Clothier of Millstone, and Rich Goff, Frank Garrison, Matt Taylor, Bill Boone and Gregg Lee of Grantsville. Their names were featured in posters on the church lawn.

Robby Parsons of Pine Creek and DeWayne O’Neal of Chloe.

Parsons and O’Neal spoke of the close relationship with others of their company. They told about receiving packages from home and the contents being shared with the whole group: “When you live every minute with these men, they become your family.” They also talked of the importance of hometown support while they were in Iraq.

This community has a passion for supporting our armed services. The flags were flying, decorations of stars, red, white and blue, were plentiful, and tables were spread with good home cooking that is associated with church dinners. The large crowd included many young children, young adults, and even veterans of World War II.

 It was a special moment to see Robby Parsons trying to get his young son, Chase, to eat his corn. The technique was “One bite for Daddy, one bite for Chase.”

“One bite for Daddy, one bite for Chase.”


Both O’Neal and Parsons plan to stay in the National Guard. O’Neal, who was raised in Raleigh, N.C., is married to the former Ivy Colegrove of Calhoun County. He plans to stay with the Guard until retirement. Parsons’ plans include finding a civilian job, helping his wife, Stephanie, finish college, and help raise his children.

The following composition was read at the church service:


We have fought many wars to stay free and strong,

But this war on terror is a whole new song,

For we now fight people who show no eyes,

But hide themselves in cowardly disguise.

They hide in caves, their minds are shallow,

They mask their face, their spines are yellow,

They load their car with flesh tearing bombs,

Then drive among the desert palms

To maim or murder just one GI,

This brainwashed imbecile is willing to die.

He’s been taught from childhood that America is evil,

(if only he knew, we’re a God fearing people).

You can fly planes into buildings by sneaky deceit,

But ultimately, we Americans will teach you defeat.

You can’t whip us, nor scare us, nor make us hide,

For you see, Mr. Terrorist, we have Christ on our side.

Your god condones murder and living by the sword,

Our God is Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Lord,

Our God gave you the right to choose . . . so . . .

We win! You lose!

         (written by Bob North of Roane County)

The Chronicle joins Pleasant Hill U.M. Church in welcoming our armed services members back home. We are grateful for the sacrifices you have made on our behalf and that you believe in our way of life.

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