Waving American flags and sporting their finest red, white and blue, a class of kindergarten students at Westmont Elementary School hailed a local man a hero as he prepared to return to the fighting fields of Iraq.
Students in Kimberly Morrison's kindergarten class planned a celebration to honor Sgt. Brian Herrington, the father of classmate Kristlyn Herrington.
"We wanted to recognize Sgt. Herrington's service to our country," Morrison said. "Our students really rallied behind their classmate and her family."
The class prepared a scrapbook with photos of Kristlyn at various school events and field trips along with notes of thanks for Herrington.
"I'm going to bring this with me and I'm going to hang it up where I live and look at it all the time," said Herrington, who joined the Army in February 2001, just seven months prior to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. "I'm going to show it to my buddies and tell them what champions you all are."
Herrington was deployed to Iraq in October 2006 and was home on a two-week leave. It was the first time he held son Donovan, who was born in November.
"It's stressful," said Jennifer Herrington, Herrington's wife. "It's going to be hard to see him leave, but it's the halfway point, so if I've made it the past six months, I can make it another six months."
The Herringtons have three children - 6-year-old Kristlyn, 3-year-old Dominic and 5-month-old Donovan.
Herrington returned to Iraq recently for another six to nine months. During his visit with his daughter's class, Herrington played musical chairs with the students and told them about his job installing communications lines in Iraq.
"I've seen a few snakes and there are lots of scorpions," he said to the excitement of the youngsters.
When asked how he was going to handle the remainder of his deployment and time away from his family, he simply answered, "I don't know."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.