Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando County residents invited to support events honoring local military

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County residents will have several opportunities in the coming days to show their support for the services rendered by local military members and their families.

The events will run the spectrum of emotions from the joy of a welcome home celebration for returning soldiers to the sadness of a community roadside salute to a fallen hero.

On Sunday morning, the public is invited to a welcome home party at Nature Coast Technical High School for the Florida Army National Guard unit based in Brooksville.

The event will honor the members of Company C of the 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion, a 10-ship assault helicopter company composed of UH-60L "Blackhawk" helicopters.

"As our loved ones flew off to Iraq from the Brooksville Armory, you were there," wrote the family readiness group in an open letter to supporters. "You did not just wave a flag and go on your merry way; you stayed with us for the long haul. We were in this together."

The unit was deployed from February 2004 to February 2005 and from May 2008 to April, a total of 23 months away from their families.

The celebration will begin with the "Freedom Salute" and awards ceremony at 10 a.m. in the gymnasium. Additional activities will take place in the sports complex behind the school. Attendees are invited to join the unit for refreshments, a static helicopter display, an inflatable bounce house and other family events.

Later Sunday, the mood will be somber as residents are invited to attend a visitation service for Army Spc. Justin Coleman, 21, of Hernando Beach, who was killed in action July 24 in Afghanistan.

Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. at Downing Funeral Home, 1214 Wendy Court, off U.S. 19 in Spring Hill.

After a 10 a.m. service Monday at Downing Funeral Home, a procession will leave the funeral home and head north to Cortez Boulevard, then east on Cortez to Interstate 75. From there, the procession will go to the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, where burial will take place at 12:30 p.m.

The public is encouraged to stand along the procession route with American flags to show support for Coleman and his family.

Coleman's father, Dean Coleman, said earlier that his son had said his unit was looking for a missing Army soldier who walked off his base in June. Army Sgt. 1st Class William Kamer, a casualty assistance officer for the Coleman family, said the unit's duties in the area would support this assertion. But a spokeswoman at Fort Drum, where Coleman was stationed, would not confirm the nature of the mission.

Kamer initially said three other members of Coleman's unit also died in the attack, but those soldiers died four days earlier, according to the Pentagon.

Times staff writer John Frank contributed to this report. Shary Lyssy Marshall can be reached at sl [email protected]

Hernando County residents invited to support events honoring local military 07/31/09 [Last modified: Friday, July 31, 2009 8:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Editorial: Trump owes apology to fallen soldier's Miami family


    There is no more sacred, solemn role for a president than to comfort grieving family members of soldiers who have given their lives in service of their country. Those calls cannot be easy, and some presidents are better at it than others. Yet President Donald Trump and his administration continue to engage in a …

  2. Lightning: Jon Cooper takes unusual tact to create mistmatches

    Lightning Strikes

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  3. Hillsborough teachers get a hard no on scheduled pay raises


    The Hillsborough County School District cannot afford to advance teachers to their next year's pay levels, employee relations manager Mark West told the union at Monday afternoon's bargaining session.

    This might be the last teacher bargaining session in Hillsborough for awhile. Although the two sides are not officially at an impasse, the district says it cannot pay teachers their scheduled raises.
  4. Editorial: A neighborhood under attack unites


    Three murders in two weeks understandably have Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood on edge. But Tampa police and residents are working together to find the killer and are connecting in ways that will strengthen the community in the long run. This is the best reaction to the tragedy of the three deaths, and it should …

    Seminole Heights residents came together in a candlelight vigil Sunday night to pay respect to the families and to demonstrate that they will not be cowed into staying indoors.
  5. Students at middle school pretend to rape black classmates on Snapchat


    The Snapchat had just about every offensive topic the middle school students could cram into a video clip: race-based simulated sexual assaults, profanity-laced slurs and repulsive language that shocked whoever the intended audience was - and, eventually, many more people.

    Students at a Virginia middle school pretended to rape other students on video, which was shared on Snapchat. Reports say white members of a football team enacted the rape scenes while in the locker room. This photo of a standard locker room is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.