Jerean Grau’s daughter and son-in-law haven’t lived on Gordon Circle with her for very long and yet, when her son-in-law was scheduled to return to the home from serving with Georgia’s National Guard in Afghanistan, her neighbors decorated their entire street to celebrate the young man’s arrival.
Georgia’s Army National Guard 1st Lt. Alex Harrison was met with quite a surprise when his wife drove him home from the airport and they turned onto their street. American Flags and yellow ribbons were tied and attached to trees, mailboxes and even utility poles by the thoughtful Gordon Street and Circle residents.
“My wife picked me up, we came home down the street, down Gordon and she kind of pointed out a few of them and from there I noticed they were everywhere, it was really neat. It was a great welcome home to see a community like that reaching out. My wife and her mom have only been living here about a year and a half so we don’t even know everyone on the street,” Harrison said.
Harrison gave credit for the project to all of the neighbors but pointed out that, “Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Dunn really spear-headed the project”.
Terry Dunn lives up the street from Harrison and said,”I realized that he was in Afghanistan and from watching the Internet, from watching the news and seeing the papers and things, I knew how terrible the situation was.”
Dunn first made a yellow bow for Harrison’s yard and then he decided to make them for all of the surrounding houses. After that he said that it just kind of snowballed and soon there were yellow ribbons and flags all along the neighborhood.
Dunn’s eyes misted over a bit when he said,”To know someone, to live this close to someone, who was doing such wonderful things for our freedom and our way of life; I mean it was just a joyous thing for him to have the most exciting homecoming he could possibly have.”
Margaret Williams grew up on Gordon Street and now lives in a house across from Harrison. “This reminds me of how it was on this street when I was growing up. It brought the whole street together for a good purpose and it showed me how lucky I am to live on Gordon,” she said.
With her three young children joining her on their front porch, Williams said, “This is also giving me a chance to explain to my children what the flag and the yellow ribbons stand for.”
Retired Marine Col. George Carpenter was out walking with his grandson, Walker Graham, 7, and Hank, the dog, as he explained their part in the neighborhood project.
“My grandson and I went around the whole neighborhood putting fliers around to let everyone know what we were trying to do,” Carpenter said. “The entire neighborhood came together, it was really great,” he said.
Grau summed up the entire experience the best, “It was a day we will all remember forever. Although I don’t know all the names, nor have I met, all of my neighbors, I will never forget what a touching, wonderful gift they gave to my family. I hope at some point I will be able to adequately express the truly heartfelt thanks and appreciation that I feel.”