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Send-off for troops on Friday

COVINGTON - The community is invited to show its patriotism and send well wishes to soldiers with Company B 1/121st Infantry of the Georgia National Guard's 48th Brigade, who will be heading to Afghanistan soon, by attending a farewell ceremony at 2 p.m. Friday in downtown Covington.

Hosted by Newton County and the city of Covington, the ceremony will take place in front of the Newton County Historic Courthouse and will include speeches from State Sen. John Douglas, R-Social Circle, and other elected officials, as well as 1st Lt. Shiloh Crane, commander of the Company B, and a performance by the Eastside High School band.

"It's the last chance for the community to tell them, 'We support you, we're behind you and we're there for your families,'" said Family Readiness Coordinator Kim Schroeder, whose son is one of the approximately 100 soldiers being honored.

The soldiers will be heading to Camp Shelby, Miss., on Monday morning, where they will train for about eight weeks before leaving for Afghanistan in mid-May.

Prior to the public send-off, the troops will have a private family gathering at the Covington National Guard Armory. They are expected to begin marching to the Square about 1:30 p.m.

The public is encouraged to wear red, white and blue and bring American flags as a display of patriotism, Schroeder said.

The Square will be partially closed for the event, according to Main Street Covington Director Josephine Kelly.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.