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U.S. Army Chief of Staff, "Welcome Home A Hero" Volunteers Observe Millionth Soldier to Arrive Via Military Rest & Recuperation Program

General George W. Casey, Jr. joins volunteers in greeting R&R flight at DFW International Airport

(DFW AIRPORT, TX – Jan. 11, 2011) – The U.S. Military Rest and Recuperation (R&R) program today observed the one-millionth soldier transported home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today’s incoming R&R flight at DFW International Airport was greeted by the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, General George W. Casey, Jr. and hundreds of ‘Welcome Home a Hero’ program volunteer greeters, who also participated in a ceremony marking the milestone.

“What a difference it makes to have you welcome home a soldier,” General Casey said to the hundreds of gathered volunteers. "You are such a big part of our ability to sustain the all-volunteer force after ten years at war.”

In December, the Army achieved the milestone of the one-millionth soldier to fly home via the R&R program over the past seven years.

“It is a great honor and a privilege for our Airport community to greet our troops and their families each day,” said Jeff Fegan, Chief Executive Officer of DFW. “The ‘Welcome Home a Hero’ volunteers have worked tirelessly to make the homecoming experience as special as possible for these brave men and women in uniform, and we are extremely proud of their efforts.”

Since 2004, volunteers of DFW’s ‘Welcome Home a Hero’ program have greeted the men and women of the armed forces as they pass through DFW on their way home for two weeks of R&R. To date, more than 110 community and civic organizations and businesses, as well as over 10,000 individual volunteers have participated in the program. The program has been nationally recognized as a model for civic participation and is one of the largest public service projects in North Texas.

“These volunteers have been here every day, in ice storms or in one hundred degree heat, welcoming the troops without fail, with a smile and a handshake or a pat on the back,” said Jim Crites, Executive Vice President of Operations for DFW. “As we move toward our seventh year, it’s more important than ever to spread the word and to bring more people here to share in this great effort.”

DFW Airport, the North Texas Commission and the USO continue to seek volunteers to greet the troops. Interested individuals and organizations can go to http://www.ntc-dfw.org/ to sign up, or visit the ‘Welcome Home a Hero’ Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/welcomehomahero for the latest information on the program.