Fulfilling dream to serve

When Cody Andrews was 9-years-old, he knew he wanted to be a true hero.

At a young age he’s already accomplished that goal as a lance corporal in the United States Marines Corps.

After joining the marines in June 2006, he had the exceptional honor of serving as security at the White House, guarding our former president George W. Bush.

Cody also served at the funerals of fallen soldiers at Arlington Cemetery and was even chosen to represent the marines as he guarded President Ford’s casket during the president’s funeral.

While Cody worked hard serving his country, his fiancée, Jessica, waited here in their home state.

Jessica proudly remembers the first time they met when she was in fourth grade.

“Cody just walked up to me and asked me to be his girlfriend” she said.

The couple married Sept. 22, 2007.

Cody and Jessica eventually moved to Camp Legeune in North Carolina where Cody trained for his first deployment.

A short time later the couple also discovered they were expecting their first child.

All too soon the time came for Cody’s seven-month deployment.

Cody left to go overseas to Greece, Croatia, Jordan and Afghanistan, while pregnant Jessica moved back home to friends and family.

The couple agreed early on they wanted their daughter to grow up with the love of a small town like they did.

“It was the best feeling and unexplainable to introduce him to his daughter — very emotional to both of us,” Jessica explained of seeing Cody again when he came back home.

Cody said his daughter, Ava, was perfect when he first saw her, and Jessica was surprised what little time it took her to connect to him.

One month later Cody found himself packing his bags again and leaving his family at home while he went to Haiti.

He is currently still serving there and is unsure when he will return.

Letters and e-mails keep the young family connected.

Ava now babbles saying “Dada” and Jessica sends videos to Cody, which melt his heart.

Jessica describes how she has great friends and family that help her stay positive, and always know the right things to stay and do to lift her spirit.

“I am very proud of the work he is doing; he knows I am his number one supporter, but (I’m) ready to have my husband home and Ava’s daddy home,” Jessica said.

Kennedy Tolbert is the new community columnist for Wilsonville. She can be reached at kennedytolbert@bellsouth.net.