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Metter residents honor fallen soldier
Hubbell in Metter lead
Residents wave American flags in honor of fallen soldier Sergeant Darren Hubbell as a hearse carrying his body arrives in Metter. - photo by Katherine Anderson/Herald Intern


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    METTER — Crystal Hitt didn't know Sgt. Darren Patrick Hubbell, but she wanted to show her respect and appreciation for the fallen Metter soldier.
    Waving an American flag, Hitt and hundreds of other Metter residents lined Broad Street Thursday afternoon as Hubbell's body was transported from Savannah to Metter in preparation for Saturday's funeral.
    Hubbell, 38, was killed June 20 in Baghdad with three other soldiers when their vehicle was struck by an explosive device, according to military reports. He was stationed in Fort Stewart.
    "I wanted to support him for serving our country," Hitt said. "When something like this happens, we all pull together."
    Led by police cars, a white hearse carried Hubbell's body past the crowd who cheered and applauded his service as it went by. Handwritten signs were also posted on telephone poles and flags were out in front of the businesses.
    Faye Edenfield said she was Hubbell's neighbor and teared up as she remembered him. She said she thought the outpouring of support from the community would "mean the world" to Hubbell's family.
    "It shows people still care for their neighbors and the military that give their lives for our freedoms," she said.
    Jack Porter said he didn't know Hubbell well, but wanted to show his appreciation for Hubbell's service to the United States.
    "We lost a great hero over there," he said. "He was doing what he wanted to do and was protecting our country."
    Hubbell was a combat medic who joined the army in 1995. He came to Fort Stewart in May 2001.
    Geneva Gibbs was also on hand to show her support for the family. She said the entire Metter community was saddened to learn of the death of Hubbell.
    "It means a lot to see the community out here show their respect for him and everyone in the military," said Tony Lescak. He said he hoped the show of support would let Hubbell's family know they understood how much they are hurting.
    Hubbell, a Jacksonville, Fla. native was a member of the Christian Life Fellowship Church in Cobbtown where he performed with the church's praise team. His funeral, with full military honors, will be held at the church on Saturday at 4 p.m. The burial will follow at the church cemetery. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m.
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