Calera stages patriotic sendoff for service members - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Calera stages patriotic sendoff for service members

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A parade through Calera offered support to service members and their families. (KTEN) A parade through Calera offered support to service members and their families. (KTEN)
Calera students and teachers cheered service members who are being deployed. (KTEN) Calera students and teachers cheered service members who are being deployed. (KTEN)
Flags were waving in Calera as the community gave a big sendoff to service members being deployed. (KTEN) Flags were waving in Calera as the community gave a big sendoff to service members being deployed. (KTEN)

CALERA, Okla. -- Calera schools had a very special sendoff Tuesday for soldiers being deployed overseas.

Samuel Blackburn has been in the Army for almost 18 years, so he knew what to expect when he found out he was being deployed for the fourth time.

"It's gonna be just like any where overseas," he said. "Terrorist activities... shooters... kidnappers... all of that."

But before his deployment, Blackburn and other service members got a special gift from the community. His son's school in Calera came together to put on a parade for him and his fellow soldiers.

"Just an overwhelming amount of support that we saw," Blackburn said. "We really appreciate the community coming together and supporting us."

The teachers at Calera say it's the least they can do for soldiers who give so much.

"We do have so many parents that are going to be deployed, and it's going to affect our students," said fourth grade teacher Kristi Robinson. "We just wanted to do something to say, 'We appreciate you... we support you.'"

As a military wife, Misty Hardee said the sendoff was very special for her family ahead of her husband's first deployment.

"It's a little bit overwhelming, but I'm glad to be able to stand here and say I have a husband who is willing to fight for our freedom and our country, and it's a blessing," she said. 

And as Samuel Blackburn enters his fourth deployment, he has this message for all the military families out there:

"It's not goodbye forever... it's just good bye for a little while."

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