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By CINDY SIMPSON
Another of Roane County’s good men is back home after serving in Iraq.
Mark Goodman, a specialist with the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Second Squadron Troop E out of Jamestown, returned Thursday afternoon to his Oliver Springs area home, where a large gathering of family and friends waited.
His wife, Andrea, children Bryson, 8, and Kylie, 6, and other family members picked him up from Smyrna that afternoon.
“Honestly, words cannot express how happy I am right now,” Andrea Goodman said.
She learned Saturday that her husband would soon be back.
“I got a text from him Saturday that said ‘I have just landed in the land of the free and the home of the brave,’” Andrea Goodman said.
On Sunday, she found out she would be able to pick him up at Smyrna after he was finished with demobilization and processing at Camp Shelby, Miss.
Mark Goodman’s father, David Goodman, shared in the joy by giving his son a warm embrace.
“There have been a lot of prayers went up for him,” said David Goodman, a former pastor at Mossy Grove Baptist Church, Wartburg.
“I’m real proud — I’m proud of anyone that goes and serves their country.”
Mark Goodman said he wants to “just live a normal life — just spend a lot of time with [his family], as much time as possible, try to catch up on some of the things I missed out on,” including kindergarten graduation for his youngest.
He made it back in time, however, for one family tradition he thought he’d miss.
Each year his wife’s large family, including her father, Mount Pisgah Baptist Church Pastor Garvan Walls, head to a remote place in Canada for fishing and outdoor fun.
Mark Goodman enlisted in September 2007.
“It is something I’d always wanted to do,” he said Thursday. “I always wanted to serve my country in some sort of way.”
He added, “I was out of a job at that time, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity.”