Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

News

November 9, 2013

Welcome home, soldier

JACKSONVILLE — After 26 years, Jacksonville resident Rodney Kelley will officially hang up his gear at the end of the year as a naval reservist.

Kelley returned home last weekend after a year-long deployment to Afghanistan, working as a Navy corpsman (a health professional) with ISAF, the International Security Assistance Forces, helping to run the Role One Medical Clinic.

“Each year, we had about 2,000 NATO and U.S. Forces that we treated,” said Kelley, a senior chief officer.

He enlisted in the reserves in 1987, inspired by friends who were reservists.

It was, he said, a case of “'join the Navy, see the world,' and well, I did,” he laughed. “I was proud to serve, proud to do my job.”

Several years after enlistment, he married Deborah, a college professor who now teaches at Tyler Junior College.

In the beginning, it didn't faze her that her husband would be deployed away from home.

“She was like, 'Oh, you only do two weeks reserves,'” he recalled, adding that he served in Operation Desert Storm, but that was in 1991, “before we met.

“So who would have thought” his last two deployments would be to the Middle East, Kelley asked.

“When I started, a few years (went by) and nothing happened, then I got called up for to go to Iraq with the Marines – I was there almost a year, then came back.

“I was going to retire last July, when they sent me these orders. And it was like” – he made a confused face before adding, “you know, I've never not done my (duty), so I went to Afghanistan, doing medical support.”

In his civilian life, Kelley was a licensed vocational nurse who had worked at Rusk State Hospital and in Jacksonville as a paramedic and firefighter, then became the local fire chief.

Text Only
News
  • Christian Rapper 0419.tif Local rap artist spreads the 411 on Jesus

    "I have seen things in my life that would make Dr. Phil crazy," Jacksonville native, ordained minister and aspiring rap artist Stephen I. Crow Jr. said with a laugh. "That's why I don't label my music specifically as "Christian rap" -- yes, Christians who love rap can listen and hopefully be uplifted, but I truly want and am trying to bring the word and Jesus' message to people who may never have heard it or don't believe it's for them.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tomato Bowl flushed to bottom of priorities

    The historic Tomato Bowl, built in 1940, stands strong on the outside, but according to some people the inside needs a lot of work in order to not be an eyesore.

    April 19, 2014

  • Cherokee County arrest: April 8-14

    The Daily Progress will publish a list of arrests from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office on a weekly basis.

    April 19, 2014

  • Jacksonville College, high schools team up to offer dual credit program

    Jacksonville College is currently offering qualifying high school juniors and seniors attending Jacksonville and New Summerfield ISDs and The Brookhill School in Bullard the opportunity to get head start on their higher education.

    April 18, 2014

  • JISD board members to consider district strategic plan

    The Jacksonville ISD Board of Trustees will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 21, to discuss a district strategic plan and consider buying new band uniforms.

    April 18, 2014

  • 2 men arrested after standoff in grocery store

    Two men were arrested early Wednesday morning after a standoff at the B&B Foods in Alto.
    According to Alto Police Chief Jeremy Jackson, a person reported seeing two black males at the store just before 3 a.m. Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Dispatcher Enge 0416.tif JPD dispatcher killed in wreck

    A dispatcher for the Jacksonville Police Department was killed Monday on her way to work, according to officials.
    Amber Enge, 35, of Whitehouse was pronounced dead at the scene of a one-vehicle wreck Monday afternoon on CR 2177 in Whitehouse.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CR speed limit changes, E-filling fee top agenda

    On Monday, Cherokee County commissioners set April 28 to hold public hearings concerning the changing speed limits on two county roads.

    April 16, 2014

  • Catherine look.tif Religious lines drawn: Protesters met by members of Church of Wells

    Other than a few community members' voices that rose above the crowd, the protest Saturday against the Church of Wells remained peaceful.

    April 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • HOPE event Pic 433.tif Folks attend weekend fundraiser for H.O.P.E.

    It was an evening fit for royalty, as supporters of the Helping Others Pursue Enrichment (H.O.P.E.) program gathered Saturday at The Castle on the Lake outside Jacksonville for “A Renaissance Evening.”

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo