Several weeks ago my E-newsletter outlined the situation of New Hampshire National Guard Soldiers training in Indiana for deployment to Afghanistan in January. The Milford based C Company 3/172nd Infantry were originally not going to be able to return home to family and loved ones for the Christmas Holidays. This is because the military cannot use funds to pay for the transportation of soldiers for this purpose, so soldiers must pay for their own transportation.
As I mentioned previously, the New Hampshire National Guard are unsung heroes among us; courageous and willing to serve our country. That service runs the gamut from rescuing people during floods to protecting our national security in faraway lands. For some this deployment represents their first tour of duty, while for others they have served our country several times.
Thankfully, the National Guard Association and Enlisted Association of New Hampshire (NGAEA of NH) do an incredible job assisting families while a husband or father, wife or mother is called to service. In this instance, NGAEA of NH was hoping to raise funds to charter busses to transport the troops home for several days around Christmas.
Due to the contributions of so many wonderful New Hampshire people, those funds have been raised and the troops will be returning home by bus on Wednesday December 23rd. The estimated arrival time is between 7 and 9 a.m. and the location is the Manchester Armory at 1059 Canal Street. Directions and updated times can be found at: http://www.nganh.org/ . The soldiers will depart from the Armory on January 1, 2010 in the morning and updates on that departure can be obtained on the website.
So a huge heartfelt thank you is in order for everyone who contributed to this effort. I appreciate the assistance given to me by General Stephen Burritt and Lt. Col Michael Domingue. Also of particular note are significant contributions provided independently to this effort by fine New Hampshire companies, BAE Systems of Nashua and Dare Mighty Things of Portsmouth.
If you have a chance to stop by the Manchester Armory for the return or departure please consider doing so. Along with contributions that enabled them to return to New Hampshire and share Christmas with family, a visible show of support will buoy the spirits of these courageous citizen soldiers for the arduous and dangerous task ahead of them in Afghanistan.
Thank you again and my best wishes for a Merry Christmas!