CHATHAM COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - The families of the nine airmen lost in the C-130 crash in Port Wentworth a year ago got to say a special thank you to first responders, 165th Air National Guard members, and a room full of supporters at a ceremony Wednesday night.
A recently-finished mural was presented to the families of those lost, showing the connection that there will forever be between the 156th and 165th.
Brought together by tragedy, the night was another opportunity for members of both airlift wings, along with first responders and civilian groups, to spend time sharing memories about the victims lost when the Puerto Rico Air National Guard C-130 crashed last year.
Leaders of the 156th Airlift Wing expressed their gratitude for the actions and response of the community in the moments following the crash to now, offering tokens of appreciation.
One civilian group recognized was Nine Line Apparel for their efforts to raise money for the families of the nine lost in the crash.
“It is a lot of closure that occurs in these memorial ceremonies. It’s great for the family, and that’s really what the focus is, is how can we show our respect for the fallen and how can we show the family that, now that they’re gone, it doesn’t mean that you’re not part of this community. Continue to stay engaged, continue to be a part of our community, and I think it means a lot to them," said Tyler Merritt, Nine Line Apparel, CEO.
A public ceremony will be held Thursday night to honor the fallen airmen. It will be held at 1:30 p.m. in Port Wentworth.