School board member going to Iraq

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2005

Times-Journal Writer

Dallas County School Board member Mark Story has been called to active duty and will be headed for Iraq after completing his training in Gulfport, Miss.

Story, a U.S. Navy Reservist, was notified of his deployment last Thursday and will report to his base on Feb. 24.

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“I will be going to Iraq for at least six months,” Story said. “But we may be there for as long as eight months to a year.”

Story is with the Navy’s Mobile Construction Battalion, known as the SEABEES, a unit tasked with providing base construction, battle damage repair, contingency engineering, humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery support.

“There are about 450 guys in my unit, which is based out of Huntsville,” Story said. “We will be relieving a unit that has been in Iraq for the past six months.”

Story said there had been talk among this unit over the past year about the possibility of deployment, so the announcement did not come as complete surprise.

“Mentally I’m ready to go,” said Story, who has been a Navy Reservist for 17 years. “It’s going to be an adjustment.”

Story’s wife, Regina, said her family is prepared and will “be okay” in his absence.

“We have a large support system of family, friends and our church,” Regina said.

At a meeting Thursday night, the school board appointed Regina to temporarily fill her husband’s seat during his absence.

“I think I’ll be able to handle the job,” Regina said. “I’ve overheard Mark resolve problems, and being around him, I’ve absorbed some of that.”

Board Chairman Ollis Grayson said he has known Regina for a long time and will do everything he can to help her as she takes on the new position.

“It is always tough when we lose people,” Grayson said. “But we’re blessed now to have two women whose personalities are going to be a plus for the board.”

Grayson said board member Peggy Williamson would take over Story’s responsibility on the Superintendent Search Committee.

“The board is going to pray for Mark and take good care of Mrs. Story,” Grayson said.

The Story’s have two children, 17-year-old Josh and 13-year-old Shelby.