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Pfc. Josh Ray, home on a two-week R&R after eight months in Iraq, received a surprise welcome home from the group “Welcome Home Soldiers” during a fish fry in his honor at the home of his grandparents, Claudean (Dean) and Martha Ray, on May 1.

The group lined the drive of his grandparents’ home with American flags and banners and was welcomed by the group and family members and friends holding American flags as he and his father, John Ray, drove up the drive.

The group also presented Josh with gift certificates.

Josh, a 2008 graduate of Jacksonville High School, enlisted in the military in August 2008.

He received his basic training at Ft. Benning, Ga. After basic, he was transferred to Ft. Lewis, Wash.

He was deployed to Iraq in August 2009. He is presently serving with “A” Company, 123 Infantry Division.

He returned to Iraq on May 5. He will return to Ft. Lewis after his tour of duty.

Josh is the son of John Ray and LaDonna O’Dell Ray, the grandson of Claudean and Martha Ray and Ronnie and Debbie O’Dell and the great-grandson of Bonnie Sue O’Dell, all of Jacksonville.

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