Submitted by Gordon Hospital
Gordon Hospital and Gordon EMS will host a special candlelight service, Patriots’ Fire: Lights from Home, on Thursday, Nov. 1, to honor the sacrifices made by local servicemen and women, as well as their families.
According to Courtney Taylor, director of Gordon EMS, the Fourth Annual event will be held at the Meadowdale Baptist Church Christian Center, 1811 Rome Road, Calhoun at 7 p.m.
“We are asking our entire community to come together for a time of prayer and remembrance,” Taylor explained. “We also hope that all of our local veterans will attend so that we may recognize them for their service.”
Participating in this year’s event will be local veterans and current servicemen, JROTC members, local school students from Sonoraville Elementary School and Georgia Cumberland Academy, Patriot Guard Riders, Calhoun Community Chorus, and others. In addition, a slideshow of photographs of local current and former servicemen and women will be featured.
“As we approach the holiday season, it is our goal to be that light from home for our servicemen and women, who put their lives on the line for us daily,” Taylor added. “We hope all of Gordon County and our surrounding neighbors will join us in sending a message of thanks to them and to their families.”
This year’s special guest speaker is CPT Robert M. Woods, an Infantry officer with the U.S. Army, who was injured in combat on August 8, 2010. . He is currently attending the University of Georgia while awaiting his medical retirement. He was last assigned to Bravo Company, 1/502nd BCT, 101st ABN Division, Fort Campbell KY and was deployed with the 101st ABN Division to Afghanistan in the Zwari district (birthplace of the Taliban).
CPT Woods, 27, began his military career in ROTC when he attended the University of Georgia from 2004-2008. After graduation, he worked briefly with University of Texas at El Paso ROTC as a Gold Bar Recruiter. Later, he was assigned to Fort Benning to complete Infantry training. While there, he completed Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) II, Infantry BOLC, Mortar Leader Course, Airborne and Ranger schools.
While in Afghanistan, CPT Woods spent over three months in contact and in less than 90 days had over 100 firefights. CPT Woods received a gunshot wound to the head with the initial round from the enemy in an ambush. At that time, he commanded troops into action, bandaged himself and instructed for ground medevac due to possible threat to helicopters in the area.
Since his return from combat, he has had two neurosurgeries which include a craniotomy and a cranioplasty. He had his left ocular cavity and forehead rebuilt. He has had intensive therapy at multiple locations but has recovered to such a level that he has begun the Masters of Business Administration program at University of Georgia. He remains blind in his left eye and has bone fragments lodged in the center of his brain. CPT Woods was awarded a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
According to Gordon Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Amy Jordon, Woods is a fraternity brother and friend of her son, Ben Jordon. Woods’ story, she added, is one that is close to her heart.
“His story is one you won’t want to miss,” Jordon says. “When I look at him, I can’t help but think of his parents and how agonizing it must be to know your child is risking his or her life in mortal combat to protect the freedoms we enjoy. Bobby’s parents will be joining him at the event and it is our goal to have standing-room-only to honor him and the thousands of others just like him.”
In addition to CPT Woods, the event will also honor the service of Gordon County resident and World War II Veteran Hank Wyatt.
Battery-operated candles will be distributed to attendees on a first come, first served basis. For more information on the event, please call (706) 602-7800, ext. 2305.