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[UPDATE] Memorial for Senior Chief David "Blake" McLendon Today

By: Eyewitness News Email
By: Eyewitness News Email

*** UPDATE 10-1-2010 3:30 PM ***

People are starting to come out of the memorial at Thomas County Central High School. As people start to leave, the procession is expected to start. Stay with WCTV for updates.

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*** UPDATE 10-1-2010 2:25 PM ***

The Thomasville community is waiting for the funeral now. Already, people and businesses are putting out signs, showing support for their fallen, hometown hero. People around town are preparing to remember as they start to line the streets where Senior Chief David "Blake" McLendon's precession will pass through on the way to Sunset Memorial Garden.

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*** UPDATE 10-1-2010 1:35 PM ***

People are starting to fill into the gym at Thomas County Central High School where the body of Senior Chief David "Blake" McLendon is being held. The memorial is expected to start on time.

Stay with WCTV for up-to-date coverage.

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*** UPDATE 10-1-2010 12:00 PM ***

The Rose City is paying tribute to one of its native military men today who was killed in combat last Tuesday. A memorial service for Senior Chief David "Blake" McLendon will be held at his old high school alma mater.

Thomas County Central High School will dismiss the students for the day to start preparing for Senior Chief McLendon's memorial service, expected to start at 2:00PM. McLendon graduated from the high school in 1998, the same year he started his 12-year-Navy career.

He was one of nine military personnel who were killed in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan on September 21st. McLendon was a Navy cryptologic technician assigned to an east coast Naval Special Warfare unit. He was supporting a special operations mission at the time of his death. McLendon is the first local Thomasville service member to die in Operation Enduring Freedom. He's remembered as a kind person and a good person who always made people laugh.

The parking lot at the high school will be open to the public at 1:30PM and the service is expected to last about 90 minutes. Hundreds of residents plan on lining the streets to Sunset Memorial Garden where
the interment will take place.

The Thomas County community is coming together to show their support and gratitude to the McLendon family in this tough time. People are coming out just to say thank you to McLendon and all the other soldiers who sacrifice their lives to protect our freedom.

Eyewitness News Reporter Iram Ali will be live at noon with updates. Stay with WCTV for the latest.

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*** UPDATE 9-30-2010 4:40 PM ***

Family Statement for Senior Chief David Blake McLendon, United States Navy

"Words cannot describe the incredible loss of my husband (our son), Senior Chief David Blake McLendon. David distinguished himself as a man above others. He joined the Navy to serve his country and to make the world a better place for those less fortunate.

David made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the ideals of our nation; while doing a job he loved, and while serving with the people he loved. Although his life was tragically cut short, his spirit will live on in his family and friends, and the brave men and women who served by his side until passing."

--Kate McLendon and the McLendon family

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*** UPDATE 9-28-2010 6:50 PM ***
The Thomasville community is trying to come together to best pay their respects for Senior Chief Petty Office David "Blake" McLendon who died while serving in Afghanistan. Here is a copy of a call for action to form a Flag Parade Route:

The funeral services for Blake McLendon will be Friday @ 2:00 at TCCHS gymnasium. And they ARE going to take the route from Charlie Ward Blvd (road between the school & the State Patrol Office) to Pinetree, then follow Pinetree all the way to Smith Ave (at the corner of Morningside Methodist Church/BP/Grand Daddy's BBQ) and turn left, go across the bridge out to Sunset Memorial Gardens on 84 @ Summerhill Road. So........I thought we would try to start lining up about 2:30 (we do not know how long the funeral will be)... anywhere along that route.....the later you are going to get there, the further down the route you might want to go. Try to find you a flag, but, if not, we will be giving out some @ Bob Hutchison State Farm, Grand Daddy's BBQ and Big Lot and maybe along the route if we can ~ they are shutting down Pinetree, but, I do not know what time. If you don't have a flag, show up anyway, find an empty space and fill it up !! We have ALOT of ground to cover, so PLEASE come out & help us show our support to this family & our appreciation for this young man who gave his life in service to our country & our community. And a GREAT BIG THANKS to those who showed up Monday @ such short notice to welcome him home !!

Thanks again & I am proud to be part of a community that still loves & supports each other.

Pam Clay

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*** UPDATE 9-27-2010 6:10 PM ***
Flags around Thomasville are at half-staff to pay tribute to Senior Chief Petty Officer David "Blake" McLendon. The 30-year-old Navy man was among those killed in the crash of a military helicopter in southern Afghanistan.
The funeral for Blake McLendon will be held this Friday (October 1) at 2:00 pm at the Thomas County Central Gymnasium in Thomasville.

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**UPDATED 9/27 AT 11:27AM**

The Leon County Sheriff's Office has issued a press release pertaining to the arrival of the body of Senior Chief Petty Officer David "Blake" McLendon:

On September 27, 2010, law enforcement officers from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, the Tallahassee Police Department and the Florida State University Police Department will be escorting
fallen Senior Chief Petty Officer David “Blake” McLendon from Tallahassee Flightline to the Georgia State line on Thomasville Road. The planned route for this escort will be Capital Circle Southeast to
Thomasville Road and then Thomasville Road to the state line, where Georgia authorities will assume the escort and continue on to Thomasville, Georgia.

The escort for Senior Chief Petty Officer McLendon is expected to begin at approximately 1:30 pm.

Traffic along the planned route may experience delays until the escort has reached its destination.

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**UPDATED 9/26 AT 6:35PM**

The family of Senior Chief Petty Officer David "Blake" McLendon is scheduled to return home tomorrow (9/27) with the remains of the deceased.

Funeral arrangements are underway but have not yet been confirmed.

McLendon is to be buried with full military honors and escort.

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Thomasville, Georgia (Eyewitness News) --

Family members say a 30-year-old Navy man was among those killed in the crash of a military helicopter in southern Afghanistan.

Kelly Lockman said on September 22 that her brother, David Blake
McLendon, was one of the servicemen killed in the crash Tuesday morning, September 21 in the Daychopan district of Zabul province.

The U.S. military has not disclosed the helicopter's mission,
and the cause of the crash is not clear.

Lockman said her brother, a 1998 graduate of Thomas County
Central High School, was a senior chief in Naval Special Warfare,
stationed in Little Creek, Va. She says he trained with a Navy SEAL
team but was not serving as a SEAL.

She says a military chaplain informed the family of McLendon's
death on Tuesday.

Stay with WCTV for details.


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