Local Soldier's Casket Arrives in Tallahassee

By: Blaine Tolison Email
By: Blaine Tolison Email

A proud service man, husband, and father will be missed. The casket carrying the body of Master Sergeant Shawn Simmons arrived in Tallahassee Monday, where family awaited his return.

On June 28th, Simmons drowned along with two other soldiers when their vehicle rolled into a river in Afghanistan. The tragedy more than a week ago now leaves his entire family looking above for the strength to carry on.

Monday afternoon in the Tallahassee Airport observation deck, family and friends of Master Sergeant Shawn Simmons watched the final homecoming of their beloved service man. His body was returning home from his base in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

Bernardo Berry, an Aunt said, "Anything that he could do for you he was willing to do it, you know. Whenever he would come home, he always made time for family--made sure he got around to see everybody before he left. We're really going to miss him."

Shortly before the draping of the flag, a surge of emotion came as relatives welcomed the mother of Sergeant Simmons, Alberta, who mourns the loss of her 39 year old son.

Another Aunt, Beverly Gavin, who hugged her said, "Situations like this help me to realize how blessed we are as a family--how truly blessed we are. We have our ups and downs like everybody else. We're not perfect, but god keeps that love. He keeps that love."

Master Sergeant Simmons, who also leaves behind a 13 year old daughter and a 9 year old son, served 16 years in the army. Family members say he served proudly in good spirit until the day he died, fighting for his country.

"He took everything he did to heart. And whatever desire he had, he went for it." said Gavin.

Simmons was respectfully escorted by patriot guards on motorcycles to a funeral home in Tallahassee. Now, preparations are being made for one final good-bye to the Master Sergeant on Saturday.

The funeral is scheduled at the Bethel AME Church at noon. For those who would like to send their concolences to Sergeant Simmons and his family, you can send them there at 501 Orange Avenue.

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