Wounded Fort Gordon soldiers were saluted Wednesday at Shiloh United Methodist Church.
Members of the Winfield church welcomed the wounded warriors and held a special dinner in their honor.
"This is our tribute to them," said church member Tina Luken, who organized the dinner. "They don't know we pray for them. Now they do."
Red, white and blue placemats made by the church's children and youths were set out for Fort Gordon's Warrior Transition Battalion. Each displayed a patriotic message such as, "Thank You for Your Service," "God Bless America" and "We Love Our Troops."
Sgt. 1st Class Edward Jackson was among 35 wounded warriors treated to a home-cooked meal.
"It's better than going home," said Jackson, who is from Jacksonville, Fla. "When we come around strangers, the love is greater."
Jackson suffers from foot and back injuries after a 2007 accident in Kuwait, where a vehicle ran over his foot.
"We're just so appreciative of the generosity, warmth and the love that this community gives us when we come here," he said.
For Spc. Maranda Garms, the evening made for less stress than she's accustomed to. The single mom has three young sons who came with her to the dinner.
"It tastes wonderful," she said. "It also keeps me from having to cook a meal."
After the dinner, the service members were invited inside the sanctuary for a music program and special readings dedicated to those in the armed forces.
Church Pastor Kim Webb said the evening's activities were a way to celebrate the country's soldiers and local heroes.
"We could never repay them for their sacrifice," she said. "(It's our) small way to say thank you."
In the future, Webb said, she hopes to hold similar events and establish relationships with the area soldiers.
"If they ever have a need, we're here," she said.
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