Community Support Helps Troop Greeters Give Warm Welcome
When soldiers land in Bangor, Maine, there’s a welcoming committee waiting for them. We all know them as the Maine Troop Greeters.Cheryl Lare, Community Relations Chair of the Maine Troop Greeters, said, “Every one of us loves what we’re doing and that handshake that we give to them when they come down that line, you just can’t describe that feeling, you just can’t.”But it’s more than just a handshake that they offer to both incoming and outgoing troops. They offer everything from cell phones to laptop access to toothbrushes to pretty much anything else the soldiers may need when they land.As a non-profit, they rely on donations to provide all of that.”All those snacks you see there are bought by donated money. It can take one flight of soldiers, 300 soldiers, to wipe that table clean,” said Lare.That’s why the troop greeters are thankful they have the support of the community. Places like Sunbury Village, which raised $530 to donate to their cause. Sunbury presented the check on Friday minutes before a flight carrying 350 soldiers landed at BIA.”What I”m here to do is to present a check that our community, that our managers, that our co-managers, that our residents raised during ‘Honoring our Heroes’ which was May 28,” said Deborah Wisdom, Community, Sales and Marketing Director at Sunbury Village.Once they see the soldiers’ reactions to their efforts, it’s all worth it.”It’s amazing. I haven’t ever felt this way in my life,” said Specialist Christopher Sullivan of Florida, upon landing in Bangor.The troop greeters hope the soldiers realize how grateful they are for their service.”We want them to know that they are our heroes. We wouldn’t have our freedom and our independence if it was not for them,” said Lare.And for the troops, all of the fanfare and support means a lot.”It means we’re home,” said Specialist Sullivan.