One year has passed and the wounds are still fresh in the hearts and minds of a local family.
Thomson native Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry Wilson was killed in Mosul, Iraq on Nov. 23, 2003. Family and friends in the area still mourn the passing of the 45-year-old career soldier, especially as the holidays approach.
"It's been kind of tough. You try to move on, but you still have your days," said Mantrell Wilson, CSM Wilson's son. "He was gone just about a year, and then...having guys coming to your door telling you that your dad had been killed, that just ain't the greatest thing in the world."
After losing a son, a brother and a sister in the past year, CSM Wilson's mother Daisy cherishes the recollections of her departed loved ones.
"We have really done quite well, and of course I have learned to live off of his memories and the love that we shared together," she said.
Through the year since his death, CSM Wilson's family has drawn strength from their faith, from each other and from the outpouring of community support.
"We've received a lot of support from the community," Mantrell Wilson said. "People come just to see how you're doing, especially now ... it's reaching the one year mark."
The Wilson family saw a variety of helping hands from across the area in the period after CSM Wilson's death. Family members said they were appreciative.
"The support was great. During that time people would come by; they'd bring breakfast. Friends of the family would come by and clean up," Mantrell Wilson said. "There's been a lot of people even outside of the area. We received several things from different organizations."
And the community that CSM Wilson called home remains by his family's side after a turbulent year. Especially as the war continues to rage on, the memory of the pain his death caused an entire community is not likely to pass quickly.
"The fact that we've still got that war going on and we've got other people dying, it brings it all back home," said Thomson Mayor Bob Knox. "The main things I think that come into my mind are the fact that he was such a dedicated leader, just a fine person, and for his life to be snuffed out is awfully hard to take. And yet he did it for the ultimate sacrifice, for all of us, so we have to appreciate that."
There are even plans in McDuffie County to permanently memorialize CSM Wilson's service and sacrifice to his country. A marker will be placed in the park south of the main Thomson fire station. The Thomson Rotary Club recently began work on the park.
Also, a proposal to name the future Thomson bypass after CSM Wilson has been discussed by the county commission. Georgia Department of Transportation approval would also need to be obtained to name the roadway in his memory.
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