**** UPDATE 9-23-2010 4:53 PM ****
Friends and family of Blake McLendon sent WCTV this notice the we would like to share with the public:
Everyone ~ we are organizing a "flag parade" in honor of Blake McLendon...what we want to do is have as many people as possible lining the route from the Catholic Church, down pinetree to 84 and out to Sunset Memorial Gardens on the day of the funeral (don't know yet when that will be-he will be in Delaware for 5 to 7 days) anyway....buy up some flags & plan to show up. This young man died protecting all of us & our way of life so, let's show his family how much we appreciate him & are supporting them.
Please pass this on & we will update you when we get the details of when it will be.
Senior Chief Petty Officer David McLendon was, by all accounts, a good man.
Devoted to his country until the end, the Thomasville native was killed in a helicopter crash along with 8 other soldiers in Afghanistan on Tuesday
Those who knew McLendon say his death is a hard example of the ultimate sacrifice soldiers pay serving their country...
Says McLendon's former Thomas County Central High teacher Leigh Barwick, "When there's a loss of life, I mean it's just devastating to your community, it's devastating to the families that are involved...and you know we...don't always think about, you know, our military and their service to our country, and so whenever you lose someone that you know, then it all becomes much more real."
McLendon, known to most as "Blake", was friendly with all his classmates and an active Central High student.
Stacy Mims taught McLendon when he was in the 9th grade: "He was very involved with a lot of extracurricular activities. He was just an exceptional kid, you know, he was a really food student, really conscientious, a role model that you know, like I said, everybody wanted to be like Blake."
Now, former teachers and friends want the McLendon family to know how sorry they are for the loss of their son.
Barwick says she is praying for the family, and Mims says the family should be proud of their son because "he was just a wonderful guy."
McLendon leaves behind a wife, as well as a group of friends who will never forget the legacy created by the brave hero.
In honor of Senior Chief Petty Officer McLendon's ultimate sacrifice, flags on Thomasville government buildings will fly at half-staff until 8 o'clock Monday morning.