WATCH: Rigby neighborhood salutes young father on his way to serve in Afghanistan
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RIGBY — When Amber Moody saw the line of flags, she cried.
When she noticed mothers, fathers and children standing next to those flags, she was speechless.
Her husband, 35-year-old Patrick Moody, was driving the car, and their four children were in the back. The family was on their way to the airport Thursday morning to say goodbye to Patrick, who will be in Afghanistan for the next year.
She tells EastIdahoNews.com Patrick has been in the military for 18 years, and this is his first deployment. He’s a first lieutenant in the Army Reserves but works at EIRMC full-time as the surgical services manager, Amber says.
The Moodys moved to Rigby from Mississippi less than two years ago. They learned about Patrick’s deployment just before Christmas and knew it would be extra difficult without having family nearby to support Amber and the kids, who range in age from 2 to 13.
“While he’s in Afghanistan, he’s not allowed to take leave, and there will be very, very little communication,” Amber says. “They aren’t on a base and will be in very remote outfields. We’re not even sure how often we’ll get to talk with him.”
Patrick’s team will take care of injured soldiers and make sure they are stable before loading them onto helicopters, which will fly them to medical bases or hospitals.
As the Moodys prepared for Patrick’s departure, Julie Millard, one of their neighbors, told them to be sure and drive down her street on the way to the airport.
“My husband is in the Army Reserve, and he’s been deployed to Afghanistan twice,” Millard says. “I can relate to Amber, and I know how hard is it to send them away for that long – especially with little kids.”
Millard asked everyone on her street to stand outside with a flag Thursday as the Moodys drove by. Boy Scouts in her Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ward regularly post large flags throughout the neighborhood on holidays, and those were distributed along the street.
“I messaged everyone on Facebook and told them to stand out with a flag. Some of the neighbors had signs, and we just wanted to let them know we’re here to support them,” Millard says.
Amber says her family was overwhelmed when she saw the outpouring of love from about 50 neighbors. She pulled out her phone to capture the moment as they slowly drove down the street.
“At first I thought maybe they just put flags out. When I realized it was people, that’s when I just lost it. There were families out there holding the flags, and waving and cheering with signs saying, ‘Come home safe,’ “Amber says. “Patrick was choking it back. My daughter and my oldest sons were just bawling hysterically.”
Even though the Moodys are fairly new to Idaho, Amber says her community has become her family. She appreciates their kindness and the fact her neighbors stood in the rain to wish her husband well.
“This is 100 percent community support. For somebody that has no family, it was beautiful. It helped him know I have people to turn to while he’s gone,” Amber says.
Millard adds, “With what Patrick is going to have to go through, we can handle a little bit of rain. We’re so thankful for his service.”