East Texas Woman Starts Welcome Home Soldier Organization - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


East Texas Woman Starts Welcome Home Soldier Organization

An East Texas woman has made it her personal mission to say thank you to every Tyler area soldier returning home from war.  On this Veteran's Day, Anne DeLaet of Tyler has started an organization that will do just that when the soldiers arrive at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport.  DeLaet is now asking for the community's help.    

All day Monday, people have been calling Delaet wanting to know how they can help.  To DeLaet, however, it's not about helping her, but our soldiers returning home from war by making sure every one of them feels appreciated.

"I had one Vietnam Veteran call me and say 'I never want any soldier to be treated the way he was treated at home', so this is what we want to make sure, that we never do that again to our soldiers," said DeLaet. 

She's calling it Welcome Home Soldiers, a group of volunteers just like her who will hold signs and flags at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport every time a soldier returns home.  DeLaet, who's husband served in the U.S. Navy, said she was inspired by the story of a Dallas man who spent 300 mornings greeting returning American soldiers at DFW.

"My mother always said my veins ran red, white and blue, and they must be doing that still," said DeLaet.  "We live in a very comfortable life because of those people who are willing to fight and die for us.  I just hope that it will grow into a patriotic movement." 

That won't happen, DeLaet said, without volunteers.

"The first thing we need are our family and friends of soldiers to let us know when the soldiers are coming home," said DeLaet.  "The next thing we need are volunteers to go welcome the soldiers." 

Right now, DeLaet said, is just the beginning, but she knows East Texans will come together and make her dream come true.  

DeLaet said she is also looking for donations of flags and gift cards to give to soldiers.  For more information about Welcome Home Soldiers, or how to volunteer call DeLaet at 903-561-6016, or you can e-mail her at wlcomhm@aol.com.

Molly Reuter, Reporting. mreuter@kltv.com


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