2012: Sappers come home, Raspberry dies of cancer

1STOCK NEMS Chickasaw Co HOUSCHICKASAW COUNTY – Several milestones were reached in the readership area during 2012 with new businesses opening, schools striving to improve their educational rankings, national political leaders chosen and an economic development plan being formed.

But the two biggest news stories from the year were both of a more personal nature.

The 288th Sappers of the Mississippi National Guard completed their year-long tour of duty in Afghanistan without a combat fatality. The unit left Houston Oct. 1, 2011 and returned Sept. 25, 2012 to the relief of family members and friends. The unit was not left unscathed, however, as they lost Sgt. Billy Sutton to a heart attack in February 2012.

The unit completed their tour overseas, the third in less than ten years, and returned home in time to raise the flag at the Homecoming football game Oct. 5. They were also named Grand Marshals of the 2012 Houston Christmas parade.

Another milestone event was realized as Okolona native, William Raspberry, succumbed to prostate cancer July 17, 2012.

Raspberry was a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post group and was the recipient of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.

Raspberry founded Baby Steps, Inc., in his hometown of Okolona to help empower parents to prepare their children to enter school. He was an avid believer in the benefits of education and worked to inspire his local community to take an active part in the education of their children.

For more highlights of news from the previous year, see additional posts on chickasawjournal.com.

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