DFW International Airport Honors Volunteers on Fourth Anniversary of “Welcome Home A Hero” Program To Greet Troops
Army Lieutenant General experiences volunteer greeter program firsthand
DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (June 15, 2008) – As 187 soldiers returned home from the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan for a very special Father’s Day, DFW International Airport honored the hundreds of volunteers who have participated in the “Welcome Home A Hero” volunteer greeter program at the Airport for the past four years. U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Michael D. Rochelle also arrived on the inbound flight and experienced DFW’s volunteer greeter program firsthand.
DFW’s “Welcome Home a Hero” program has been nationally recognized as a model for civic participation and is one of the largest public service projects in North Texas. More than 440,000 men and women in uniform on almost 2,700 flights have passed through DFW for much anticipated rest and recuperation (R&R) since June of 2004, and today the Airport praised the efforts of the volunteers who assist soldiers and their families in their emotional reunions and ongoing air travels by hosting an informal thank-you breakfast for all R&R volunteers.
“It is a great honor and a privilege for our Airport community to lend a hand to our troops and their families," said Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW. "Our Airport professionals and spirited volunteers have worked tirelessly to make travel as comfortable and convenient as possible for these brave men and women, and we’re very proud of the respect and admiration this program has earned over the past four years.”
The U.S. Military selected DFW in the summer of 2004 to begin receiving the daily 20- hour flights from Kuwait. DFW and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International are the only two airports in the country which are part of the program.
Once the flights began at DFW, grassroots groups, schools, church congregations and a variety of businesses began to greet the troops on a daily basis. DFW fire trucks greet each military charter on the runway with a “Shower of Affection” to begin the celebration.
Now, DFW, the North Texas Commission and the USO-DFW organize and recruit groups that will reserve a week at a time to be part of Welcome Home a Hero. Hundreds of organizations and more than 10,000 volunteers have participated in the program.
“Everyone involved in the R&R program is out here greeting the troops because it’s the right thing to do,” said Jim Crites, executive vice president of operations for DFW. ”The real beauty of the R&R program is that everyone associated with it does it out of love and completely selfless motives. And, the troops are extremely grateful and truly moved by the people welcoming them home.”
The Airport, North Texas Commission and the USO continue to seek volunteers to greet the troops. Volunteers receive free parking passes for their efforts. Interested individuals and organizations can go to www.dfwairport.com/heroes for the latest information on the program and volunteer by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.