Paying tribute to fallen Hinesville soldier

27-year-old Staff Sgt. Sheldon Tate
27-year-old Staff Sgt. Sheldon Tate

By Brooke Kelley - bio | email

MIDWAY, GA (WTOC) - Sadness mixed with patriotic pride as the body of 27-year-old Staff Sgt. Sheldon Tate, of Hinesville, returned home to Liberty County.

Shortly after noon the patriot flight landed at the Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center bearing his remains.

From the airport, the modest motorcade rolled toward Midway where others were able to pay tribute. The caravan went down U.S. 17 then west on Oglethorpe Highway toward the Dorchester Funeral Home. Both sides of the road were were packed with veterans soldiers and complete strangers paying tribute.

Frank Folgarait says he saw what happened on the news and wanted to come out and show his support.

"It hit my heart. He's a local fella and I don't know him but i just needed to do my part and honor him," said Folgarait.

Misty Lege from Hinesville waved her flag with pride.

"If he can go and serve our country in the way that he did and give himself the least we can do as a community and as a member of this family and country is to step out and give him and his family the honor he deserves," said Lege.

"This is such a close military town I felt like I needed to come and support him and his family," said Folgarait.

Butch Hemingway is the president of Hinesville's Vietnam Veterans Chapter and made sure he could get as many veterans as possible to be there for their fellow hometown hero.

"It hurts, it really hurts and the kid gave his life for what we are fighting for," said Hemingway.

"I wish the best to the family and if they need anything to let them know veterans are there to support them in anything we can," said Hemingway.

In this place called "Liberty", that's sent countless soldiers to fight and losing far too many, scenes like the one in Midway on Thursday do not get any easier.

"I just felt like I needed to come out here and support him because been protecting me and my family," said Folgarait.

Tate pulled a fellow soldier to safety and was then killed in a firefight in Kandahar City on July 13. The para-trooper from Liberty county was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC. This was his second deployment to Afghanistan. The city of Hinesville is planning a special ceremony for Tate and his family in the next couple of days.

The funeral will be held at 10.a.m this Saturday at the main chapel on Fort Stewart.

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