Home For Christmas
by Rick and Jilda Watson
"I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams."
Everybody wants to be home for Christmas, but sometimes it can only be in our dreams.
Luey C. Glover and his wife Judy have never spent a Christmas apart...until this year. It is not by choice that he won't be home this year. Glover (his friends call him L.C.) is serving our country in Iraq.
He found out in November of 2003 that he would be activated. "He had enough time in the National Guard to retire and he could have pulled some strings and probably avoided service in Iraq,"
says his wife Judy. But shirking his duty to his country didn't sit well with L.C. "The guard has been paying me for all these years, it just wouldn't be right to turn my back when they need me" he said. Judy smiles and says that's just L.C., he's a special kind of person.
Even though he turned 59 years old in August, he packed up his gear and shipped out with the rest of the troops in January 2003. He works with communications equipment over there, Judy explains. He has to go out on convoys at times, which she knows is very dangerous, but he doesn't tell her until he returns to his post.
L.C. graduated from Dora High School in 1963. Like most young men, he started to work. Judy attended Walker High School and graduated in 1966. Judy got a job at the old Mug and Cone on highway 78 in Sumiton. L.C. stopped by one evening after work for a milk shake. That milk shake became routine and they became an item. They started dating and were married after a while. That was almost thirty seven years ago. They have lived here all their lives and this is where they raised their family. They have three children, Angie who married Paul Ramono and has a son Caleb who is 4 years old. Their son Jeff married Tracy Bambridge and have one son Austin who is 2 years old. Their youngest son Greg has two children; Candace 9, and Cody who is 6.
L.C. first joined the guard back in 1965 and served several years before getting out in the 70's. When his son Jeff joined the guard in the 80's, L.C. reenlisted.
The hardest part for Judy (L.C. being away at Christmas) is the fact that many of the things she faces here at home she faces alone. "He has always been here. If ever there was anything that needed to be done, we would talk it over and figure out the best thing to do. Making those decisions alone is very hard," she says.
The longest period they have ever spent apart is the two weeks summer camp that is mandatory for every member of the National Guard.
"The absolute hardest part, is that he is not here." I caught the meaning in her words. L.C. is not here, but in Iraq and in harms way.
L.C. is scheduled to return in February 2005.
I got a little catch in my throat when I asked Judy how she was coping. "I've put it in God's hands to bring him home safely," she says . We have family and many, many friends praying for his safe return.
I sometimes get a little miffed when folks send comments giving me a hard time about how I'm handling the site and I wonder if it is really worth the trouble.
Earlier this year L.C. sent a note to me saying how much he appreciates the DoraHighSchool website because it gives him the opportunity to keep up with his beloved Bulldogs. When I think of the sacrifice that he is making for us, I can say without hesitation: yes, it is worth the trouble.
L. C. Glover Home from Tour in Iraq
L. C. Glover pictured with his wife Judy is back from a year long tour of duty in Iraq. L.C. is 59 years old and was one of nine soldiers from Walker County to return home on Saturday. He graduated from Dora High School in 1963 and was a familiar face on the sidelines of Dora football games until he was deployed last year.
I plan to get with L.C. when he has a chance to catch his breath and do an interview for the website. Story from the Eagle follows.
End of Iraq tour brings together Sumiton couple of 37 years
The Daily Mountain Eagle
Published January 29, 2005 10:22 PM CST
Over the course of a marriage spanning more than 35 years, L.C. and Judy Glover had never spent more than a week or two away from each other's side.
All that changed on Jan. 3, 2004, when Staff Sgt. Glover, a member of the Alabama National Guard's 279th Signal Battalion, was deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was the Sumiton resident's first overseas deployment of his National Guard career.
Saturday afternoon, slightly more than 12 months since his departure, Glover concluded his deployment and returned to Walker County soil for what his family hopes will be a long stay.
"We were able to talk on the phone about once a week and we communicated through e-mails, but being apart was the toughest thing," Judy Glover said. "There were a lot who had it tougher than me. Our children are grown and they were a big help to me. Others I know had small children, which I'm sure made it more difficult."
As the 59-year-old staff sergeant reflected on the past year Saturday following a brief ceremony at the Jasper-based armory, he was happy that his day of homecoming had finally been realized.
"Early on, it seemed that this day would never come," Glover said. "Looking back on it now, it actually went by pretty quickly."
Glover indicated that his arrival and time in Iraq - a world he discovered to be "nothing like home" - led to his realization on why U.S. troops were involved in the effort to promote democratic freedoms in that land and why they should remain to see the job completed.
"When we first crossed over the berm in Iraq there was a sign that said 'Welcome to Hell.' Just a little ways farther, I saw a little boy that I figured to be about the same age as my oldest grandson. He was standing in front of a mud hut that made it seem like I had gone back in time about 2,000 years," Glover said. "I think that scene said to me immediately that 'yes, we need to be here, and yes, we need to be doing what we are doing to help these people.' There have been a lot of brave soldiers who have lost their lives in this mission. We need to see this through, so their lives will not be lost in vain."
The experiences of a year's stay within what amounts to a combat zone, as attacks from insurgents continue almost daily throughout Iraq, were easily recognized by deployed members of the local unit.
According to Glover, the company was relatively secure in its location, but being alert to the surrounding environment was extremely important.
"Our position was not as bad as some others, but we took mortar attacks like many other units did. You just never knew, and you had to be on your toes all the time," he said. "I think that I am changed as a result of the experience, but just how I don't really know right now. I'm sure that I will see over time, but right now I'm just glad to be home and back with my family."