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Posted: January 13, 2009 7:31 p.m.

Serving our soldiers

Operation Patriot’s Call searching for volunteers

Photos by Amber Pittman/

Soldier, citizen, father: Private Christopher Garrett with daughters Makenzie, age 3, and Kailee, 19 months. Garrett's wife Erica is due to have their third child in May, shortly before Garrett is scheduled to deploy.

Erica Garrett is due to give birth to her third child in May and her husband, Private Christopher Garrett will be deployed this summer, most likely in July according to the Army’s Department of Public Affairs, leaving her home with a newborn, a 3-year-old and a 19-month-old.

Both Erica and Christopher have a lot on their minds. She’s worried about her husband going off to war; he’s worried about his wife at home with three small children. But with Operation Patriot’s Call, both will have just a little less to occupy their thoughts in their time apart because of the generosity of citizens and businesses of Newton County.

Imagine you have a husband off serving his country and your roof starts leaking. With Operation Patriot’s Call there is no need to worry because just one call will locate a local person who has agreed to provide services either free or at a much-discounted price for the families with spouses serving in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Over the weekend, soldiers from Company B of the 1/121st Infantry Division of the National Guard’s 48th Brigade were present -- many with their families -- at a community open house at the Newton County Armory. There they introduced citizens to weapons and vehicles that are commonly used in Operation Enduring Freedom and allowed those interested to fire the weapons commonly used by the soldiers.

"The people of Covington are awesome," gushed Kim Schroder, the company’s family readiness coordinator. "But we are still looking for people and businesses who are willing to volunteer their time and services."

Operation Patriot’s Call is in need of anything that a normal family could use, from babysitting and tutoring to local physicians that accept Tri-Care - the Army’s health insurance-- even restaurant discounts are welcome.

The soldiers of B-1/121st Infantry have answered the call to serve and Operation Patriot’s Call asks Newton County to show their appreciation by supporting them and their families while they serve their country.

"I worry," said Erica Garrett. "It’s hard... knowing that he’s leaving. Makenzie (age 3) gets it. She understands that her daddy is a soldier and that he’s going to be leaving and she wants to go too. She already wants to be in the Army."

For more information about Operation Patriot’s Call or to sign up to support the families of those fighting in Operation Enduring Freedom, visit www.patriotscall.com.

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