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Fallen soldier honored in Southern Crescent

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

The Southern Crescent is being asked, once again, to demonstrate its support of a young man who paid the ultimate price for his country.

U.S. Army Pfc. Jeremy Faulkner died March 29, during a tour of duty in Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division.

The 23-year-old's body is expected to arrive, aircraft, today at Falcon Field in nearPeachtree City, where it will be escorted members of the Henry County Police Department to Cannon Cleveland Funeral Home, 2580 Ga. Highway 42 North in McDonough.

Organizers expect the procession — aided the Henry County Sheriff's Office, Henry County Fire Department, and other law enforcement agencies in the Southern Crescent — to leave Falcon Field at approximately 11:30 a.m., to encircle the McDonough Square at about 12:30 p.m.

"We are encouraging people to come out, as they are able, to show their support for this fallen hero lining the roadside," said Henry County Communications Director Julie Hoover-Ernst.

Henry County Police officials anticipate Faulkner's body to arrive around 11 a.m., at Falcon Field, before taking a route through Fayette, Clayton, and Henry counties. The route will flow from Peachtree City to McDonough, as follows: Dividend Drive to Ga. Highway 74; Highway 74 to Highway 85; Highway 85 to Highway 54; McDonough Road to Jonesboro Road; Jonesboro Road to McDonough Square; and Highway 42 to Cannon Cleveland Funeral Home.

"The more citizens that come out and show their support, the better it is for the family," said Lt. Jeff Maddox, of the Henry County Police Department's Special Operations Division. "I think it reassures the family that they have our support."

Maddox said the division's motor unit officers, Bruce LaBier and Sgt. Ron Patten took the lead in organizing the procession, which will continue this weekend, following funeral services Saturday.

The soldier will be memorialized Saturday at Tara Baptist Church, 10461 Tara Blvd., in Jonesboro. The Rev. Ron Little is scheduled to officiate the 11 a.m., funeral service.

Saturday's procession will begin at Tara Baptist Church, traveling north on Hwy. 19/41 to Highway 138. The route continues from Highway 138 to Walt Stephens Road; Walt Stephens Road to Flippen Road; Flippen Road to North Henry Blvd.; North Henry Blvd., to East Atlanta Road; East Atlanta Road to Thurman Road; and Thurman Road to Fairview Road to Fairview Memorial Gardens in Stockbridge.

Cannon Cleveland Funeral Directors, in McDonough, is charged with organizing the funeral services. "We are absolutely honored and humbled to be able to do it," said Greg Cannon, co-owner of Cannon Cleveland Funeral Directors.

He said the funeral home directed the services of Faulkner's grandfather in 2009. It is the same year the funeral home led services for U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class John C. Beale, who was killed in June 2009, while serving in Afghanistan.

"As Americans, we are mourning the loss of another fallen soldier, but what we need to remember is that a family has lost their son, their grandson, and their brother," Cannon said. "And I think we need to respect them as a family and allow them time for mourning and privacy as well."

Faulkner's obituary highlights his membership to Liberty Baptist Tabernacle in Stockbridge. Others may know him from the years he attended Luella Middle School in Locust Grove, or his freshman year at Griffin High School in Griffin.

The private first class was born in East Point, Ga., to parents Judy (Fischel) Berry and Joel Faulkner. He is survived his mother and stepfather, Judy and Tony Berry; father, Joel Faulkner; siblings, Kimberly Faulkner, Rheena Zuchowski, Joe Berry, Eric Berry, and Lindsey Payton; grandparents, Nadine Faulkner and Martha and Billy Berry.

Faulkner's family will receive friends on Friday, from 4 p.m., to 8 p.m., at Cannon Cleveland Funeral Home. Interment will take place at the Fairview Memorial Gardens, following Saturday's funeral services.

An online guest registry is available at www.cannonclevelandfunerals.com. Funeral organizers note that donations may be made in Faulkner's honor to the Aflac Cancer Center, at 1687 Tullie Circle, N.E., Atlanta, Ga. 30329, or Camp Sunshine, at 1850 Clairmont Road, Decatur, Ga. 30033.