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Family and Friends Send off Members of Maine Army National Guard 

Some members of the Maine Army National Guard boarded a bus Friday, returning to Indiana, they will eventually deploy to Afghanistan.But they were able to make it home for the holidays thanks to Stephen and Tabitha King.As Meghan Hayward reports, family and friends shared their gratitude Friday.Family and friends were at the Brewer Armory to see off members of Bravo Company Third of the 172nd infantry battalion.It was because of Stephen and Tabitha King that they were able to spend the holidays at home.The Kings gave about 13-thousand dollars to pay for their transportation home. A gesture that sure is appreciated.”I was extremely excited. I was in shock because most of the time their stuck over there without any family or friends. And the fact that he was willing to do that was an amazing gift for all these families of all the men deploying.””Phenomenal, it was absolutely wonderful having him home. I was so glad but I’m sad he’s leaving again.”For many, it was a low key holiday.Focusing on just spending time together.”I can’t even explain how amazing it was to have him home for Christmas.””I am so much a holiday and Christmas person anyways so just to have him here was just great. I missed the last Christmas with him when he went to Iraq so it was good.”Governor Baldacci was also there to see the soldiers off.He presented them with travel bags that had snacks provided by LL Bean and Labrees Bakery of Old Town, a Stephen King novel and other goodies.”It’s very important. This is a deployment that’s going into a very difficult and challenging area and these are our young men and their families. In Maine we’re part of their extended families of support and I wanted to let them know that the Governor was there with them and all the families in Maine and all the people in Maine are with them today.”And while there were tears, hugs and kisses as folks said good bye to their loved ones. They say they feel fortunate the Kings allowed them to spend this special time together.”Thank you. Thank you so much for giving us that gift for Christmas.””I’d give him a big hug and kiss and say thank you very much, It’s been absolutely wonderful. They’re very very generous.”