Church members honor "celebrity" mom, support group makes plans for rally in the park

Trudy Hicks enjoyed celebrity status Wednesday evening after members of her church reported seeing her son, Shawn, on national television helping topple a statue of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.

Members of St.

Johns United Methodist Church in Kingman walked up to her table during a church dinner of sloppy Joes, carrots, melon slices, ice cream, cookies, muffins and other desserts.

They talked about seeing Shawn, who is attached to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment out of Twentynine Palms, Calif., on television hours earlier.

"He was there when he pulled the statue down and a bunch of Iraqi men were kissing him," his mother said.

Hicks said she missed the television coverage because she was working in the preschool at the church.

Today's editions of the Arizona Republic published a New York Times photo of Shawn Hicks surrounded by jubilant Iraqis and being kissed by one of them.

Hicks, a 2001 graduate of Kingman High School, is the ammunition loader on the crew of an Abrams tank.

"That is fantastic," said Karen Player, a church member who has two sisters serving with the U.S.

Army in Hawaii.

She put her arms around Hicks' shoulders.

After finishing the dinner around 6:20 p.m., Hicks went to the sanctuary with other members of a newly formed support group of people who have family members serving in the war.

They added photos to a "wall of honor" of armed services members with Kingman ties.

And while a message honored Shawn Hicks, another note gave a reminder that other members of the armed forces have met a different fate in Iraq: death.

Army Spc.

James Kiehl is listed as "missing in action" because the message on the wall was written before the military notified his family that he died after Iraqi troops ambushed his unit March 23.

Notified of the new circumstances surrounding Kiehl, support group leader Linda Chevalier said she plans to post a gold star next to his name on the wall.

Kiehl's mother, Carol Howland, works for the Mohave County Sheriff's Office in Kingman.

She and other members of the support group talked about honoring Kiehl during a rally to support the troops set for May 17 in Centennial Park.

Gina Sparks, whose son, Dustin, is a member of the Army serving in the war, suggested holding the event that day in observance of Armed Forces Day.

They plan to begin the rally at 10 a.m.

with a march starting at the park along Beverly Avenue, heading north along Stockton Hill Road and then east along Airway Avenue before returning to the park at Burbank Street.

They plan a picnic for as many as 1,000 people with food donated by local stores.

The event might conclude with an evening concert and prayer vigil.

They also talked about organizing a drive to gather items to send to the troops, such as toiletries and compact discs.

Deanna Fish said her employer, Check 'N Go, is organizing a drive to send Baby Wipes to the troops.

Support group members also talked about attending a rally from 5 to 7:30 this evening in front of Superior Court downtown.

The support group plans to gather for dinner at 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday at the church, Stockton Hill Road and Kino Avenue.