Local Military Support

As intense battle continues in Iraq and supporters and protesters of the war remain visible, a local church is aiming to provide peace in the midst of what some might call the storm.

The congregation at 15th Avenue Baptist Church in Meridian has created its own memory tree. Filled with yellow ribbons, the tree honors the men and women of the U.S. military.

"There's so much negative news from protester and other things around the country. I think it's important to remember the sacrifices they're making overseas, but also to remember that we've got a role to play here on the homefront as well. Our duty is to continually lift them up in prayer," said Pastor Jason Byrd.

Aside from the tree, the church has also established what they're calling, 'Operation Betty Crocker.'

"In 'Operation Betty Crocker,' we send the troops cookies and brownies and it's been great to hear back from them as they've received them," Pastor Byrd said.

15th Avenue Baptist Church is not alone in its effort. A newly formed group called Operation Support with the American Red Cross is encouraging communication and cooperation among churches and civic groups. In fact, the group is establishing a telephone number to handle requests to help military families in need. More information on this effort will be announced next week.

Meanwhile, in honor of a deacon who left earlier this week for combat, members of 15th Avenue have put a yellow ribbon on his chair in the choir. As with other troops now serving, church members say Deacon Robbie Knight is temporarily gone, but definitely not forgotten!