0630BROWNaudOakwood City Manager Stan Brown, who spent six months in Iraq as a U.S. Air Force reservist, talks about returning home.
OAKWOOD — Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown was honored during a surprise ceremony Monday morning as he returned to work after spending six months in Iraq as a U.S. Air Force reservist.
Standing under the wide shade of a pecan tree next to City Hall, city leaders presented Brown with a proclamation honoring his military service and recognizing June 29 as Stan Brown Day.
Patti Doss-Luna, assistant city manager, also presented a framed copy of the proclamation to Brown’s parents, Elizabeth and Bobby Brown of Bowden in West Georgia.
“This is really a special day for us,” Doss-Luna told Brown in the ceremony. “We’re really proud that you served our country and proud you got back home safely. I’m glad to hand it back over to you and you take control.”
Doss-Luna was acting city manager during Brown’s absence.
“Welcome back home,” Mayor Lamar Scroggs said to Brown. “Stan represents all our troops and all our city. He represents everyone well. He has served us well in Iraq. We’re just honored, proud and pleased to have him back here to serve the city of Oakwood.”
Steve Fenlon, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Oakwood, offered the ceremony’s prayer.
Brown and other city officials cut a yellow ribbon that had been tied to the pecan tree, then replaced it with another yellow ribbon to remember military personnel still serving abroad.
Brown said to the crowd gathered for the ceremony that he “appreciated each and every one of you.”
“You are family,” he said. “Some view it as a sacrifice, but I view it as an honor to serve your country and do what you’ve been trained to do.”
Brown said he also appreciated prayers in his behalf.
“The thing that has given me strength more than anything else ... is my relationship with the Lord,” he said. “I know that no matter what happens, God is there with you.”
Brown, a lieutenant colonel who earned the Bronze Star medal during his deployment, earlier this year took command of 1,500 U.S. troops as the senior U.S. official in Basra, assisting with transition of the Iraqi province from the British military.
He also served as the master planner in that area of Iraq, overseeing an engineering team conducting key construction projects.
In previous deployments, Brown served in Kuwait and the central Asia country of Kyrgyzstan.