PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- Members of the University of New Hampshire football and women’s lacrosse teams welcomed military servicemen and women back into the United States on Tuesday, April 6 at Pease International Tradeport.
New Hampshire returns for the second time this year to welcome military personnel back home. UNH has teamed up with Pease Greeters - a volunteer organization that welcomes servicemen and women back into the country with applause, music, food, gifts, services and more since 2012.
“It brings chills down your spine to see the troops come home and smile,” said junior football player Nick Cefalo (Basking Ridge, N.J.). “Its a privilege to be here to meet the people that are protecting our country. The troops do so much for us and welcoming them is the least we can do for the troops. Everyone is in good spirits and it is a great experience.”
“It is important to come out to support and thank the soldiers for what they have done for us,” said Daniel Rowe (Orange, N.J.), sophomore football player. “I’m honored to be out here with the troops; they risk their lives every day to protect us.”
“We don’t get to thank the troops enough and it was great to hear some of their stories and welcoming them back home,” said senior women’s lacrosse player Cori Rees (East Hampstead, N.H.). “There was a great turnout by not only the football and lacrosse teams but the local community as well. The troops were blown away that we would come out to greet them.”
“It’s great that the student-athletes keep coming out and greet the troops both departing and arriving at Pease,” said Cathy Coakley, coordinator of student-athlete development. “Experiences such as Pease Greeters gives our student-athletes perspective on the sacrifices that people make to protect our country and show that they are really fortunate to play the sports that they love.”
The mission of the Pease Greeters is to usher soldiers passing through Pease International Tradeport on their way to, or from, Afghanistan, Iraq or any other areas of conflict in the world. The organization also aims to create an environment that reflects the respect and high esteem they hold all veterans. Finally, the Pease Greeters strive to promote broad participation by the general public in this welcoming of heroes, paying special attention to educating children by instilling respect and admiration for the troops through formal ceremonies for each flight.
Since 2008, over 600 flights have been welcomed by the Pease Greeters. Volunteers from the Seacoast community welcomed approximately 60 Marines into the airport Tuesday afternoon.
For more information about the Pease Greeters, be sure to visit PeaseGreeters.org. For more information about UNH athletics and Wildcats in the Community, please log onto UNHWildcats.com and look for the Wildcats in the Community page presented by Kennebunk Savings.