During upcoming weeks more than 3,700 soldiers will make the 7,203 mile journey home to Fort Polk from Iraq. Without a moment to spare, single soldiers' quarters are under assault by volunteers who have spent hours moving in furniture, making beds and delivering care packages.
Fort Polk’s Family Readiness Groups (FRG) and the American Red Cross have joined forces to ensure that all single soldiers returning home to Fort Polk from combat in Iraq will have a welcome place to rest their heads.
“All single soldiers are coming home to newly renovated barracks,” said  Judy Dewhurst, battalion FRG leader . “We have been working hard for the past month to make sure everything is ready for them to come home.”
“We work with the military before they deploy and while they are away supporting their families,” said Dee Martin, station manager with the American Red Cross. “This (homecoming) is a great time to be involved, making sure they have some comforts when they get home.”
Included in all of the hard work are care packages from both the American Red Cross and various FRG groups. The packages have toiletry items, snacks, stationery and games. Many also contain letters and cards from people throughout the community welcoming the soldiers home and thanking them for their volunteer service in the Army.
“FRG members have been busy. They have made banners which are being displayed throughout the barracks,” said Master Sgt. Joel Locklear.
According to Locklear the FRG is the greatest organization that the Army ever created.
The FRG's are made up of soldiers' spouses, who, while preparing their own homes and families for the return of their husbands and wives, have also taken the task of making sure that single soldiers aren’t being left out.
“Many of these soldiers don’t have anyone at Fort Polk to come home to,” said Dewhurst. “We, the Army Family, are going to be waiting for them with open arms to welcome them home. The care packages that are being put out are just a small token of thanks to get them through the first few days until all of their things arrive.”
As the soldiers arrive home, they will attend reintegration classes for about a week and will then take 30 days of leave to visit friends and family before beginning life back at Fort Polk.
“We also want to thank all of the surrounding communities for their continued support,” said Dewhurst.