Guard Support welcomes troops home at Foxboro
BY JASON ARUNDALE FOR THE SUN CHRONICLE
Sunday, November 11, 2007 11:14 PM EST
FOXBORO - Patriotism was in the air Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
The New England Patriots organization hosted a welcome home ceremony for 400 local soldiers Sunday at the home of the National Football League team. The event, which celebrated members from the 101st Field Artillery Regiment of Brockton and the 1060th Transportation Company of Framingham, gave soldiers, and their families, the opportunity to enjoy Gillette Stadium from field level as well as take pictures with an authentic Patriots Super Bowl ring.
"This was pretty nice. It was more than what I expected," Specialist David Mondeau of Taunton said. "It's nice to see, even though people may not agree with the war, they support us while we're there."
Mondeau, who served as a mechanic in Iraq for the past year, spent the afternoon with his mother Linda and his father James, a Vietnam War veteran. David has been home for about two months, said he is delighted at the prospect of remaining home for a substantial amount of time, similar to the 400 soldiers in attendance.
"I can't express how great it is (being back)," said Dominic Young of Seekonk, who became recently engaged and is scheduled to be married sometime in 2009.
"It was nice having the quiet time," joked Danielle Richards, Young's fiancée who was counting the days until Dominic's return. "Now that he's back, it's so much better."
Many others shared similar attitudes in displaying their pleasures of returning from Iraq. Most of the soldiers in attendance have been back for almost two months but a buzz remained in the air as if they had just returned.
Eastern Massachusetts Recruiting and Retention Sergeant Major Marsh addressed the soldiers prior to the festivities and also explained the importance of the soldiers' return prior to the festivities.
"It means that they are all home safe and out of harm's way, which is a good thing," Marsh added. "It also means that they represented the Army and our commonwealth as National Guardsmen in stellar fashion. They did everything they were supposed to do and then some."
During an opening speech Marsh acknowledged Guard Support of Massachusetts, a non-profit corporation formed in July by private citizens of Massachusetts. Guard Support of Massachusetts, which was represented by Nate Dalton, an executive board member, is devoted to providing emergency assistance to families with soldiers over seas.
"You start to see some of the challenges that families go through when two-parent families become one-parent families," Dalton said. "We started this organization to try to provide support where infrastructure doesn't exist."
Dalton, a resident of Swampscott, has friends currently serving in Iraq and has witnessed the first hand struggles families may encounter when loved ones go out to war.
"It was a small group of folks at first," he said. "We're just about to go into a phase where we can raise money more broadly. We started out just providing emergency assistance, but now we're broadening out, trying to do some joint programs."
The families of the returning soldiers were treated to a large luncheon buffet predominantly sponsored by Guard Support of America with the assistance of Family Assistance Centers and the state Family Program Office
READ THE NOTE OF APPRECIATION FOR GUARD SUPPORT FROM NATIONAL GUARD GENERAL THOMAS SELLARS.