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Home of the Brave

Two Lawrence County natives are on their way to serve the nation in the war in Afghanistan.

Eric Christian and Timothy “Clayton” Reed, members of the Ohio Air National Guard, left for training last week. The Rock Hill High School graduates, along with about 300 others in the 200th Red Horse Civil Engineering Squadron will train for about a month in Texas, before heading to Afghanistan.

Timothy is the son of Tim Reed and the late Cheryl Russell.

Timothy’s stepmother, Missy, said he was excited to go.

“He was excited but it was hard when he left,” she said. “We just want him to come home safe. All of them.”

This makes 24-year-old Timothy’s second time serving in war time. In 2008, he served in Iraq.

“It was rough before but he contacted us every chance he could,” she said. “Sometimes it would be a month and sometimes it’d be two weeks, just whenever he got a chance he’d contact us.”

Timothy has wanted to be in the military since he was much younger.

“I always took him to air shows and the Dayton Air Force Museum,” Tim Reed said.

The deployment will be difficult for Timothy’s brother, Samuel, who is four years old.

“It’s hard, it’s really hard,” Missy Reed said. “You don’t know if they understand things well, but he watches the TV.

“I try to keep that from him too because a lot of it is bad.”

Timothy and Eric have been close friends for years. Besides going to school together, the two also worked together.

“They’re good boys,” Tim Reed said. “They don’t get in trouble.”

Eric joined the Air Force Reserve last year and graduated from basic training in May.

He is the son of Becky Samples and Don “Pooch” Christian.

Samples said she was at first hesitant to support her son’s decision to join the military because she was afraid he would be deployed.

Eric broke the news of his deployment to her gently and his family is supportive now of his serving.

“We just want to make sure that everyone knows how proud his parents and step parents are,” she said. “Everyone supports this 100 percent.”

Eric’s family is glad that he will have a close friend with him, at least for training. It is possible they will be split up once they leave the country.

“We were so glad that they were going to be together,” Samples said.

Timothy’s family takes comfort in the fact that their son loves the military.

“We know that he wanted to do this,” Missy Reed said. “This is what he wanted to do with his life and he must enjoy it to want to do it. So I try to think about that too.”

The troops had a call-to-duty ceremony in Mansfield last week. There, Timothy proposed to his girlfriend, Sarah Horn. The proposal came as quite the surprise to Horn as well as his family.

“I knew nothing about it,” Tim Reed said. “I though it was just for her birthday. He said ‘It’s Sarah’s birthday and when he got down there he dropped to one knee.”

Both families plan to write letters as well as e-mail their sons. The e-mails may be more difficult because the men will have limited access to computers.

Missy and Tim encourage their young son to pray for his brother.

“We tell Sam that Jesus is going to bring him home safe,” she said.

Tim encourages everyone to pray for Eric and Timothy.

“Not just them, but all of the boys over there,” he said.