Thanks to fund raising and donations the Family Support Group has been able to start bringing area soldiers home one last time before they head overseas to Iraq.
Around 3:30 a.m. Sept. 7, 2006, some of those soldiers were greeted by family members back in Bowling Green, Ky.
Tammy Nealen was just one person outside the National Guard Armory on Thursday morning awaiting the arrival of a loved one.
"I'm ecstatic. I'm very excited to see him,” Nealen said.
Debbie Robinson was another one.
"It was just like Christmas and that's what some said. It was just like Christmas having them come home. It was so exciting,” Robinson said.
She says she was first notified on Sept. 6, 2006, that her son would be coming home and the minutes just seemed to drag by as she and others waited for their soldiers to arrive.
"At 6:30 p.m. they were on the bus leaving. Then I got a call at 2:18 a.m. that they were in Nashville. I got another call that they were in Franklin, and another call they were getting on the Natcher Parkway,” Robinson said.
The Family Support Group held a yard sale and bake sale in August 2006 to pay for the buses to bring this group home from Camp Shelby in Mississippi.
Along with this group the First Battalion of the 149th Infantry Regiment four other groups will also come home before being sent to Iraq for their year-long deployment.
"We've already had two groups that have been here and gone and I’ve had a son in one of those groups and now our third group is home and I have another son in that group."
Robinson, along with other members of the Family Support Group, is now reaching out to thank those who helped bring their loved ones home.
"We just want to thank Bowling Green and the community and lots of businesses that gave us donations and we do so appreciate it,” Robinson said.
The soldiers also appreciate it.
"We're real happy. Happy to be home,” Staff Sergeant Jared Keller said.
Robinson said the Family Support Group and the local American Red Cross are collecting items until Oct. 2, 2006, for care packages to send to the soldiers at Christmas.
To find out more about the Family Support Group and their upcoming meetings you can contact Debbie Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (270) 782-1822.
And for a list of items needed for care packages click here.