Four service members were given a warm welcome home Wednesday morning (April 18) at the Anoka Armory.
Many more Minnesota troops received a hug or pat on the back from loved ones as 219 First Brigade Combat Team 34th Infantry Division soldiers arrived home Wednesday at eight different armories in the state, according to the Minnesota National Guard.
“It’s fantastic. It’s the best moment ever,” said 20-year-old Jerrod Lacy of Anoka, who had his mother Sebra Lacy by his side.
The first thing he plans to do is spend time with his mother and friends before looking for a job and going back to school. He was a full-time student before going to Iraq to drive a vehicle in a combat escort team. He is interested in a career involving computers.
Three other soldiers came back to Anoka Wednesday and more will returning in the next few weeks every three to four days, according to Sgt. Adam Kelly of the Minnesota National Guard.
Several people, including Tony and Trixie Bezenar and Rick Oelschlager from the Anoka American Legion, stopped by the Anoka Armory Wednesday morning to greet the returning troops.
Oelschlager said it is important for them to be there because he wants to prevent the same poor treatment that happened to troops returning from Vietnam.
“We’re trying to give them the moral support they deserve,” said Tony Bezenar, who trains hunting dogs and has taken troops out on pheasant hunts every year, thus building a strong connection to the Anoka Armory.
Eric Hagen is at firstname.lastname@example.org