DFW International Airport Marks Seven Years of Volunteer Spirit from "Welcome Home A Hero" Program
Airport holds ceremony to honor and thank volunteers; call goes out for more volunteer greeters
DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (June 22, 2011) – DFW International Airport today honored the community of volunteer greeters involved in its renowned “Welcome Home A Hero” program for completing seven years of service to incoming soldiers, and sounded a call for more North Texans to welcome home the troops.
“This program has had a galvanizing effect on our entire Dallas-Fort Worth community,” said Jeff Fegan, Chief Executive Officer of DFW International Airport. “It has become a unique source of pride for our citizens, and one of the most rewarding things we do as an Airport. The ‘Welcome Home a Hero’ program continues to thrive because of the volunteer greeters who are here every day, giving the returning soldiers a handshake, pat on the back or hug.”
U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Michael Ashford thanked the volunteer greeters from a unique perspective, having experienced the “Welcome Home A Hero” greeting upon returning home from duty in Iraq.
“I am a recipient of the kindness and the fellowship that you provide on a daily basis, and I thank you for that,” said CSM Ashford, the garrison commander at Fort Hood. “I felt welcomed when I came through this terminal and I landed here at Dallas-Fort Worth. And I do know that it means so much to each and every soldier, sailor, airman and marine that graces these doors as they come through the terminal.”
Texas singer-songwriter Jon Christopher Davis was also on hand to perform his song “The Boy I Left Behind,” which is the official theme song for the American Fallen Soldiers Project.
Since 2004, the “Welcome Home A Hero” program’s volunteers have greeted hundreds of thousands of inbound soldiers to DFW as they make their way home for two weeks of rest and recuperation (R&R) from active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hundreds of organizations and more than 10,000 volunteers have greeted over 2,400 flights during the life of the program, reaching out to more than 800,000 troops in the process of arrival and departure from DFW. “Welcome Home A Hero” has been nationally honored for community service, and has received recognition from the highest levels of the Pentagon. This year, former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush served as volunteer greeters.
Organizers of the ”Welcome Home A Hero” program, including DFW Airport, the North Texas Commission and the DFW USO, are actively seeking to recruit new volunteers to the program.
The U.S. military selected DFW in the summer of 2004 to begin receiving the daily 20-hour flights from Kuwait. 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” water cannon salute to begin the celebration.