Guest Column – Soldier offers thanks and Christmas cheer to hometown


By Capt. Stoney L. Portis
United States Army

A year ago today I was spending my second consecutive Christmas near Baghdad, Iraq, on a 15-month deployment with the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood. Fifteen months overseas can really make you miss home, so you can imagine how surprised my soldiers and I were when we opened a

care package from Linda Cochran and the First-Lockhart National Bank on behalf of the people of Lockhart.

In the box we found several Christmas stockings full of AT&T Calling Cards – enough for each of the 400 soldiers in the unit to make a call home for the holidays. I specifically remember calling my wife, Alison, who happened to be with my family near Lockhart. As they passed the phone to say Merry Christmas, the warmth I felt inside melted away the thousands of cold miles that separated us, and I was able to enjoy a little bit of home for the holidays. During that week I was inundated with smiles and appreciation from the men and women who had received the small but intangible gift from the people of Lockhart. There are many reasons soldiers take pride in fighting for their country; one of them is the honor of defending their family, their friends, and their home.

It is no secret that the city of Lockhart is full of patriots; just look at how many veterans Lockhart High School produces. During my short time in the Army I’ve crossed paths with many other LHS graduates that were also called to service: Chris Jennings, Jonathon Yanez, Bill Sneed, Allen Rodriguez, Jacob Rodriguez and Ross White, just to name a few. I remember discussions on the importance of service, in every variety, from educators like Patsy Kirksey, Scott Davis, Coach Dyral Thomas, Coach Brock, Mark Stedman, Shirley Reich and Charles Red.

I mention this not only to give thanks to the people of Lockhart for your support of our nation’s Armed Forces, but also to show appreciation for the education and lessons learned while raised in Lockhart. I once heard that we spend much of our young-adult life trying to leave home, and we spend the rest of our life trying to find a way back home. All said, my Christmas phone call home I made last year highlights the very reason why I so fondly call Lockhart home. Home is the place where people support you… especially when you’re on the other side of the world fighting our nation’s wars. On behalf of the veterans of Lockhart, thank you for your love and support – we couldn’t do it without you.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from your Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines.


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