Locals welcome soldiers home in Dec. 2 luncheon

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In Fall 2017, it was “au revoir” – “Goodbye until we meet again.”

Come Dec. 2, it’ll be “Welcome Home” for the guardsmen of Kilgore’s Bravo Company.

The 3rd Battalion of the 144th Infantry Regiment of the Texas Army National Guard deployed last fall after a ‘see you soon’ dinner hosted by local volunteers at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. The local organizers have been eagerly-awaiting Bravo Company’s return, and they’re ready to celebrate with gusto.

Any assistance will be appreciated, says Kilgore retailer Julie Beck, spearheading the grassroots event with other volunteers once again for the National Guard members and their families.

The farewell dinner saw about 125 volunteers serving some 450 guests of all ages, drawn from throughout the area and across the state to Kilgore and its guard unit, headquartered on Stone Road. Restaurants, church groups, businesses and civic organizations contributed hot dishes, desserts, drinks, cold treats, giveaways, care packages and entertainment for the crowd of deploying soldiers and their loved ones, young and old.

The event Dec. 2 will be a luncheon, Beck added, set once again at St. Luke's UMC.

“Calling all patriotic citizens,” she said Friday, “our boys are home and we want to show them our appreciation.

"I am reaching out to all the churches, to anyone who wants to volunteer and help. We're going to need people who want to bring food, we'll need volunteers to greet people. I think it'll be a nice way to say 'Thank You' for all they do for us."

Plans are still in the early stages, but there will definitely be live music in addition to the meal and other activities, Beck added.

"I think Santa Claus is probably going to make a guest appearance since we'll have kiddoes there."

. To contribute to the Welcome Home event, contact Beck at 903-631-8322.

– By JAMES DRAPER

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