One Town's Sacrifice

By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief
By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief

Sweetwater, Monroe County (WVLT) - Monday marks the fourth year of the war in Iraq, a war that has hit small town USA hard.

Not that the big towns haven't seen their share of the fatalities.

But it's the small towns, like Speedwell, and Sweetwater in Monroe County, where everybody knows everybody else, where the war really hits home.

Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb went to Monroe County for an interesting perspective from the town and a soldier with his own war wounds.

Andy Newman has seen the tough side of war, he was wounded in 2005, two other soldiers he fought with, side by side, did not return.

He, like many there, focused on overcoming the challenge and winning the war.

It's been four years since the start of the Iraq War and Andy Newman remembers it well.

"I was there with the Third Infantry Division during the invasion. I remember that day and I remember that night," says Newman.

In those four years, Newman was just one of those from Sweetwater injured or killed in the war. His vehicle was the target of a roadside bomb. "We had two KIA's and then one lost his leg and he got messed up pretty bad so I was the luckiest of us all."

But the little tight-knit town of Sweetwater has been hit especially hard with Newman and Joey Hunt who was killed.

"I went to high school with Joey Hunt. He was a couple grades ahead of me. My platoon sergeant was my high school history teacher," says Newman.

"It brings Iraq very close to home," John Canada says the community has really reached out in support of it's military families and friends to help them cope with the tragedies that came their way. "In Joey Hunt's case and in others, people rally around and Sweetwater people take care of one another."

Newman says he doesn't pay that much attention to the anniversaries, but both are looking for an end. "I really don't have much feelings about it. I'm like everybody else. I hope we can get our mission accomplished and get home soon."

"Optimistic that we can conquer the terrorists and terrorism in general if given the opportunity to do that. It's easy to become pessimistic when you see some don't support those efforts," says Canada.

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