Press Release: 11.12.09

Barre, Vt - Senator Shumlin today, joined by Adjutant General Dubie, Lt. Governor Dubie and Speaker Smith spoke of the outpouring of support that Operation Holiday Homecoming has seen since it was launched almost two weeks ago. Operation Holiday Homecoming is an effort to bring our 700 National Guard members, stationed in Indiana, home for the holidays before they are deployed to Afghanistan.

Senator Shumlin spoke of the inspiring fundraising efforts that are occurring across Vermont to bring our National Guard troops home for the holidays. One of these fundraising efforts is being undertaken by Price Chopper. The supermarket has pledged to place Operation Holiday Homecoming pin ups at registers in each of their fifteen Vermont stores. Customers will be able to donate to the effort at the registers and Price Chopper will match the amount given by Vermonters up to $10,000.

"It has been heartwarming to see Vermonters across the state join together to support our troops," said Senator Shumlin. "Rotaries, school sport teams, businesses and children as young as nine years old have all been working to raise the money to bring our hard working men and women home for the holiday season."

Through these efforts, Vermonters have successfully raised over $150,000. Due to logistical concerns Adjutant General Dubie has requested that Operation Holiday Homecoming charter buses to bring the troops home instead of planes. While negotiations are ongoing with various bus charter companies, it is expected that the cost of chartering buses to bring our troops home to Vermont will be slightlyless then $200,000.

"We are incredibly grateful for the efforts that Vermonters are undertaking to support Operation Holiday Homecoming," said Adjutant General Michael Dubie. "We are pleased that the fundraising is well underway and we look forward to telling our hard working soldiers that we will be able to provide an opportunity for them to return to Vermont for the holiday season."

Chartering buses rather then planes not only reduces the amount of money needed to bring our troops home for the holidays but also allows for an extended deadline. Donations will now be accepted for Operation Holiday Homecoming through December 11, 2009. If excess funds are received they will go toward the work of the National Guard Charitable Foundation to help guard families during the deployment.

If you would like to make a donation to Operation Holiday Homecoming please email or call Colchester-Milton Rotary member Tom Raub at 846-9526.