Families share one last holiday before deployment

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Story and photos by Kathy Hall, Co. B, 1st Battalion 149th Infantry Family Support Group leader

Soldiers and their Families prepare for a special Memorial Day holiday thanks to the support of their local community.

SOMERSET, Ky. (June 3, 2011) — On the eve of the largest deployment of Kentucky National Guard troops since World War II, Guard members and their families were recently treated to a special Memorial Day holiday thanks to the generosity of their local community.

Staff Sgt. Thomas Godby and his family take a moment during the day's festivities to pick up their custom t-shirts.

Operation Military Kids, Lake Cumberland Blue Star Mothers, Southwestern High School Youth Service Center, SomerSplash Water Park, and the Somerset mayor’s office teamed up to provide a day of fun for the Soldiers and Families of Bravo Company and Detachment 2, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry.

Bravo Company and Detachment 2 are deploying to Iraq later this summer with the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in support of Operation New Dawn.

Families were able to make t-shirts and pillowcases featuring the photo of their loved ones through the use of the Mobile Tech Lab and Operation Military Kids.  Andy Hall offered rides on the popular “Freedom Train” to the families.  Children made cards for their Soldiers and everyone joined in for a game of bean bag toss.

Families were also offered a day at SomerSplash Water Park.

Adam Messer and Maddie Riggs work on making cards for their fathers.

“I just want to say thank you so much to you and all the volunteers that made this past weekend possible,” said Mindy Reynolds, wife of a deploying Soldier.  “I am new to all this and it truly touched me to the bottom of my heart that you all, are so caring and helpful.  My family is forever grateful!”

More than 300 Soldiers and family members participated in the activities over two days and 140 photos were printed for tee shirts and pillowcases.

The official departure ceremony for the 149th MEB will take place at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky. June 4th at 4:00 p.m.

Friend of the Guard Andy Hall brought the “Freedom Train” to offer rides to the Soldiers' families.

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