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Final Journey
of a Fallen Hero

February 18, 2009
Bay City

Joshua Allen Ward

October 23, 1978 - February 9, 2009

Fallen Hero Arrives in County Wednesday

By Heather Menzies

Matagorda County will welcome home a fallen hero to the Bay City Municipal Airport when Sgt. Joshua Ward's body arrives around 11:30 a.m. today.

Sgt. Ward's funeral, that will be open to the public, will be held at 3 p.m. in Bay City's First Baptist Church on Friday, Feb. 20.

"I would like us to be the county that shows no matter what happens in politics, this is beyond politics, this is our service men dying for us and we appreciate their sacrifice," said Bobby Head, local coordinator for patriotic displays and Ward's reception.

"It doesn't make me any difference whether he lived (as far away as) Kansas, he died for us and we should go to every length to show our love and respect."

A proper military reception will be held for the family to receive their loved one home and the public is welcome to attend and show their respect.

A car will transport the body from the airport to lie in state at Baker Funeral Home in West Columbia, north on FM 2540 and east on Texas 35.

The community is encouraged to take a break from work to line the procession route waving American flags and homemade signs with supportive messages.

"I know a lot of people still have the hand held flags that we passed out for (Cpl. David McComick's) funeral in May and we really hope they will bring the flags they already have," said Head.

While the Ward family originally intended to hold Joshua's funeral in his hometown of Needville, the funeral service was moved to First Baptist Church in Bay City in order to accommodate the amount of people who are expected to attend and show their respects.

"We know that some inaccurate information about the funeral was circulated through email and fax stating that the funeral would be at the Baker Funeral Home in West Columbia at 1 p.m. on Friday," said Head.

"That is not accurate and we want to get the word out that the funeral will be at First Baptist Church here in Bay City at 3 p.m. on Friday."

The Rev. Ralph Howard will officiate Ward's funeral.

"(Howard) was Josh's youth minister growing up in Needville and has stayed real close with Josh through the years," said Head.

"He's a Baptist preacher in Louisville, Kentucky now and he's going to come down and do the service."

First Baptist Church in Bay City will seat 600 and the public is invited to attend the funeral.

Those who would like to attend the funeral are encouraged to arrive early.

The local Woodmen of the World Lodge will pass out handheld flags in the church parking lot and for those who line the procession route on Texas 60 and Texas 35.

"We would basically do the same type of funeral procession going up Texas 60 turning east on Highway 35 and then the procession will follow the hearse all the way back to West Columbia," said Head.

Following the service, the body will be taken back to Baker Funeral Home and will depart at 8 a.m. Saturday morning for the graveside service at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.