Ribbons for the 1140th

Ribbons for the 1140th
By Tony Hensley

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO --Hundreds of Heartland soldiers are coming home. Tuesday on Heartland News we told you how soldiers in 1140th Engineer Battalion are slowly making their way from Iraq to Fort Riley, Kansas. Once there, the Missouri National Guard soldiers are being de-briefed. In the meantime, families across Southeast Missouri are planning a huge welcome home celebration.

When the Family Readiness Group learned that their soldiers were coming home this Friday or Monday, a plan of attack went into place. Making banners ribbons and welcome home signs.

Armed with 100 yards of yellow ribbon, military families and volunteers are making decorations that will stretch for miles. Shelia Gross says, “I can't wait to see him I just want to hug my son. It's been a long year.” The wait is almost over for hundreds of military families. Due to security, families are not told if it will be Friday or Monday before their soldier comes home. While they wait to receive final word, these mothers, friends and family waste no time planning a homecoming they say the soldiers deserve. “The commander had asked if the families would wait until formation before we hugged them or anything and I said Doug he's tying my hands and I don't like this I'm ready for a hug. But we will respect the commander." Gross said. 

Shelia says the buses carrying the soldiers won't need a map to find their way to Cape Girardeau, she says the moment they hit Southeast Missouri signs, banners and ribbons will guide them on home. Makenya Ray says, “Just different emotions. Like, what's it going to be like to see him again, how is he going to adjust to being home, just a million thoughts running through my head." And families say, staying busy planning their homecoming helps ease their emotions. Ellen Lorberg says, “I support the guys over there whole heartedly and appreciate what they are doing so we can be free. I just admire them so much."

If you would like to show your support and make the soldier's homecoming special, you can call (573) 243-3337 or the Missouri National Guard Armory at (877) 633-0291.