KILLEEN, Texas (BP)--The clattering sounds of railcars rumbling down the tracks from Fort Hood are constant reminders that the nation is thundering closer to war.
|Care for the troops|
At Fort Hood in January, President Bush greets troops readying to deploy. Memorial Baptist is among the churches in Killeen, Texas, seeking to help soldiers' families. Photo courtesy of Fort Hood
But for families, friends and fellow church members of soldiers being deployed to Iraq, they don't need the 24-hour-a-day reminders.
"About 75 percent of our church is directly related to the military," said Joe Rich, pastor of Memorial Baptist Church in Killeen, Texas. "We have about 1,650 in attendance in Bible study and already more than 50 soldiers who have left. We're expecting to have 100-plus deployed. Just how many, we don't know."
For every soldier shipped out from nearby Fort Hood, usually at least one family member is left behind to maintain the home front.
|Side by side|
Patriotism and faith are evident at Fort Hood - both in the Texas military base's outdoor museum adjacent to its chapel and in the ministry to soldiers' families provided by Memorial Baptist and other churches in Killeen. Photo courtesy of Fort Hood
Ministering to them has been Memorial Baptist's labor of love.
While some remaining spouses choose to go home to their families, Rich said several wives believe they can do their part in the effort by staying in Killeen and supporting each other, in part because of the church's ministry.
Sara Allison is one of those wives, as her husband, 1st Lt. Brian Allison of the Signal Corps in the U.S. Army, is scheduled to be deployed in two weeks. "Right now, I'm okay, but I've been told the reality of it all sets in about two weeks after he leaves. Read More