Bring A Soldier Home
By: Holly Brantley
MURRAY, Ky. - The 438th Military Police Company out of Murray, Kentucky prepares to leave for Iraq. The unit, specializing in law enforcement, will head overseas come January. Saturday, the guard gave the unit a send off ceremony at Murray High School. Sunday the unit left for Fort Dix, New Jersey. They'll stay there until they head to Iraq. That could mean the troops could spend the holidays at Fort Dix, but not if the families have their way.
"They're a family," said Linda Todd, mother of Capt. Jay Todd. "I made my son and his soldier's a promise, all 136 of them, they will be home for Christmas."
Fort Dix shuts down for Christmas, but bringing the soldiers home will be up to the families.
"When a soldier is on leave, he has no free ticket back," explained Retired First Sergeant, Ron England. "They never have. If one soldier has to stay on base during Christmas it's the pitts. I know what it's like. So, I want to help to give back to these families."
These families are on a mission of their own. It's their way of saying thank you to the soldiers who sacrifice so much for them. They're trying to raise $25,000 to bring their loved ones home. The money would cover charter buses from New Jersey to Kentucky, and they need it by December 6th.
"They said goodbye and said 'Please bring us home for Christmas,' and I promised I would," said Terry Laster. Her husband, Ssg. David Laster, and son, Spec. Michael Laster, deployed together.
The soldiers have vowed to stick together. Either they come home as a unit, or they stay together at Fort Dix.
"They're all talking about it," said Michele Holmes. "They say 'It's all or none' and they tell us 'Go! Get it Done!'"
Wives like Heather Elder and Mary Ann Wilson are both expectant mothers.
"We've been together, Heather and I, since they left," said Mary Ann. "We talk about how much we miss them." Wilson is due in February.
Meanwhile, Elder just found out she's expecting two weeks ago. "The only doctor's appointment that he'll get to go to with me during the nine months will be at Christmas," said Elder. "So, This is so important!"
Other loved ones like Carol Lane, aunt of Capt. Jay Todd, and seven-year-old Emily Holmes, daughter of Ssg. Jason Holmes, ask for your help too, saying even the smallest donation will help bring their whole clan together for Christmas.
"Even if Jay weren't related to me," Lane said. "These are all our soldiers and we want to bring them home for Christmas!"
"We're going to get them home," said Terry Laster. "We'll accept no defeat! That's their motto as well as ours!"
Mary Ann Wilson and Heather Elder will be taking donations at Wal-Mart in Murray this Wednesday, November 14th. They'll also help family members and friends get message to the soldiers.
Please make donations by December 6th to any Regions Bank or mail to:
Bring a Soldier Home
P.O. Box 1080
Murray, Ky. 42071