Homecoming: Community ready for 216th

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 14, 2005

It will be a welcome fit for a hero - or whole battalion of them.

Southern Ohio will be awash in yellow ribbons and patriotic spirit as members of the Ohio Army National Guard's

Company B 216th Engineer Battalion come home from Iraq today. U.S. 52 from Wheelersburg to Ironton will be festooned with balloons and ribbons. The city has installed its flags and banners at the city entrances.

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Many of the area businesses and schools and public buildings have hung flags and welcome signs in honor of the returning troops. Yesterday, students from Kingsbury Elementary School decorated their building to honor the troops. Crabro Printing donated a large banner that now hangs at the schools' Sixth Street entrance. The kids took care of making the rest of the decorations.

"The windows across the front of the building downstairs have a letter in each window and they spell out 'Welcome Home troops,'" Kingsbury secretary Mary Stuntebeck said.

"The other windows have yellow ribbons and hearts and stars. We have flags outside in the planters and down the front steps. It really looks nice and we have gotten a lot of compliments on how nice it looks."

School nurse Vickie Crager and Tana Klaiber spent time hanging all the decorations.

The Ironton Municipal Court's Community Service program spent this morning decorating U.S. 52 with signs, nearly 500 balloons, ribbons and flags.

BC Party and Tool Rental, Touch of Grace, Weber's Florist and Kimbearly's Browse-A-Bit donated the supplies.

Shawnee State University will have a special ceremony at 2 p.m. today. Plans are being finalized now for Lawrence County's official celebrations, likely to be March 6

at Ohio University Southern and the VFW.