Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

July 27, 2013

Community to welcome home soldiers of 304th MP Company

BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Soldiers of the 304th Military Police Company of the U.S. Army Reserves along with their families will be honored during a Welcome Home event Sunday evening at Bowen Field prior to the start of the baseball game between the Princeton Rays and the Bluefield Blue Jays.

All members of the 304th MP Company as well as their families are invited to attend the game free of charge. A group of community volunteers is currently working to prepare food for the soldiers and their families. Thus far, the group has received donations of chicken nuggets from Chick-Fil-A, an assortment of soft drinks from Food City, a half-sheet “Welcome Home 304th” cake to serve 40 people, meatballs, salads and more. In addition, a soldier with the 304th will be throwing out the first pitch.

“The 304th’s own Sgt. A.J. Wild will be tossing out the first pitch,” Jamie Peck, Family Readiness Group leader for the 304th wrote in an e-mail message to all of the 304th’s soldiers and their families, inviting them to attend the welcome home event.

Along with serving in the MP company, Wild is a critical care paramedic with the Princeton.

“A critical care paramedic provides the highest level of care possible with a rescue squad,” Stacey Hicks, chief executive officer of the Princeton Rescue Squad said. While Wild is still on active duty status with the Army Reserves for another month, Hicks said: “We’re glad to have A.J. back. I was worried every time I heard a news report from Afghanistan.

“A.J. is important to our squad for the skills he has, but when you work closely with someone, it becomes a personal worry for you when they’re away,” Stacey said. “A.J. is the kind of a person who, when he’s home, he serves the community and when he was over there, he was serving his country. We are so happy that the 304th is back.”

The local community group is working with the Riley-Vest Post 9 American Legion Auxiliary to make the welcome home an enjoyable experience for the soldiers and their families.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com