DFW International Airport Welcomes 100,000th Soldier From U.S. Military's Rest And Recuperation Program
Airport Presents Sgt. Charles Petty With Gifts; More Than 1,500 Volunteers Have Joined Welcome Program
DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (August 27, 2004) - Stepping off the plane to a hero's welcome, Sergeant Charles Petty of Gillette, Wyoming was greeted today by more than 100 well wishers, DFW Airport volunteers and community groups as the 100,000th soldier to have participated in the U.S. Military's Rest and Recuperation Program. Sergeant Petty was presented with a DFW gift bag, one of the Airport's "Hats for Heroes" baseball caps, a 6-pack of Diet Pepsi bearing the DFW logo and gift certificates from TGI Friday's and Blockbuster Video.
And for DFW, the milestone is another highlight to a daily welcoming ceremony that has become a North Texas tradition, with so many community groups wanting to volunteer that a waiting list had to be created.
We are exceptionally proud to pause and celebrate this momentous occasion for Sergeant Petty, our Airport and our country," says Jim Crites, executive vice president of operations at DFW. "It's also a great reminder of the daily celebration our community organizes for each and every R&R flight that arrives at DFW. We are so delighted to have the opportunity to honor and welcome home all of our brave soldiers and are humbled by the outpouring of affection exhibited by our local community who selflessly serve their country.”
DFW is one of only two U.S. airports now hosting the R&R program, along with Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. DFW worked closely with the North Texas Commission to mobilize greeting groups from nearby cities, Chambers of Commerce, schools, clubs and scouts. More than 1,500 volunteers have participated in the program since June 16, and community groups have "booked" daily greetings every day through January 2005, with a waiting list of organizations ready to participate.
"We are delighted to assist DFW International Airport with its greeting program for the troops returning for R&R," said Dan Petty, president/CEO of the North Texas Commission, a regional non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the economy and quality of life in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. "This is truly a regional effort of patriotic citizens wanting to show their support for our troops. And we have also received a number of letters from soldiers expressing their gratitude for the warm welcome they received at DFW. We're glad to do it."
The Airport has donated more than $500,000 in landing fees and other services since the R&R program began, and continues to mobilize its Customer Service, Operations and Interfaith Chaplaincy departments to assist special needs of soldiers, along with its DFW Airport Ambassador corps and community groups.
The USO also opened a facility at DFW on Memorial Day of this year to accommodate soldiers and their families. The DFW USO is located in Terminal B near Gate B-14.
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