Waycross community remembers fallen sergeant as ‘courageous in everything she did’

A grieving Waycross community is remembering the life of Army Seargent Kennedy Sanders, who was one of three soldiers killed in a drone strike in Jordan on Sunday.

Sanders’ death shattered the community as hundreds of people came together Friday to celebrate and honor the 24-year-old’s life and legacy with a moment of silence.

Sanders was studying to become an X-ray technician and also coached children’s soccer and basketball.

Larona McClain, a family friend, recalled a time when Sanders got injured while playing softball but showed resilience.

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“I remember us being in Vidalia with our travel team for football, and as tiny as she was in the outfield, a ball had hit her and it messed up her tooth. She went and got that tooth fixed and came back the next day stronger than ever. […] I can remember her being small and strong-willed and just courageous in everything she did,” McClain said.

McClain said her family is struggling to accept Sanders’ death.

“I was traveling when I got the call,” McClain said. “I called my girls to tell them, and they were just in shock as well because that call was very unexpected and my girls have had a hard time dealing with it.”

Sanders’ former teammate Chyna Carter feels the same way.

“This past week it almost felt unreal to think that something like this could happen,” Carter said.

Her loss punctures the community, and everyone has nothing but good memories of Sanders.

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To continue representing those memories, the city plans to rename a section of Eads Street — the street she grew up on — to Kennedy L. Sanders Way, and also, June 30 will be known as “Kennedy L. Sanders Day.”

“She worked, let me tell you, feverishly in the community to make things happen for other people. Not only did she work as a debutante, she was also a basketball player. And she did very well on the team,” Waycross Mayor Michael- Angelo James said.

For James, it’s Sanders’ enthusiasm and excitement that he will miss the most.

“She made the best out of every situation. She had fun all the time,” he said.

“She always had this energy that in a good mood or not you’re going to be in a good mood, so it’s lovely to be around people like that,” Carter said.

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