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Celebration in the works for Stryker Brigade's return

July 26, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- George Kohler hopes Franklin County is awash in red, white and blue when soldiers from the Pennsylvania National Guard's 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team return from Iraq in September.

"We want to get the flags out again," said Kohler, from Charles M. Nitterhouse VFW Post 1599.

VFW Post 1599, in Chambersburg, adopted the guardsmen based in the Chambersburg and Waynesboro, Pa., armories. Donations were most recently used to buy spurs, which are given to cavalrymen returning home.

Kohler plans to meet with the soldiers' spouses soon to plan a homecoming celebration.

The guardsmen haven't been given an exact date for their return, but Kohler is tentatively looking at dates after Sept. 15. He thinks it might be good to have a party shortly after the soldiers' return, allowing them more time with their families.

Only one donation was made since Christmastime to the account used to support the guardsmen, who received care packages several times from VFW Post 1599. It also paid for postage when other groups gathered items for care packages.

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Kohler said financial contributions would be appreciated to pay for the welcome-home party. Donations may be made at any branch of Orrstown Bank.

Capt. Cory Angell said he and his comrades would like to shake a lot of hands when the bus arrives at the armories. They'd like to see big crowds, he said.

Kohler wants the guardsmen to see "Welcome Home" banners and flags when the bus moves through Franklin County.

Any remaining care packages should be sent in the next few days to ensure the local troops receive them before demobilizing. Soldiers said they enjoy DVDs, books and magazines, especially ones with Pennsylvania hunting and fishing news.

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