Gilbert welcomes home servicemen Thursday - East Valley Tribune: Gilbert

Gilbert welcomes home servicemen Thursday

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Posted: Monday, April 1, 2013 3:00 pm

Gilbert will gather to show appreciation and gratitude for two returning patriots during the next Operation Welcome Home ceremony at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The event will honor Specialist Daniel McDonald and Specialist Cody Whitlock and their families. The Operation Welcome Home honors returning veterans and their families with a community ceremony expressing Gilbert’s support, pride and patriotism. It has become one of the most well-attended and celebrated community event series in Gilbert’s history.

Specialist Daniel McDonald joined the Army in 2009 and was honorably discharged in January 2013 having completed his full term of service. From December 2011 through October 2012, he was deployed to Afghanistan where he served in a designated Imminent Danger Area in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He has earned several honors including the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd award), the NATO Medal, and the Parachutists Badge.

Specialist Cody Whitlock joined the Army in 2009. He served two deployments to Afghanistan from November 2009 through December 2011 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom where he served as a Gunner and Squad Leader, and helped train the Afghan Army. During his military service he earned several honors including the Combat Infantry Badge, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal (3 campaign stars), the Global War on Terrorism Metal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon (3rd award), the NATO Medal, the Parachutists Badge, and the Army Commendation Medal (2).

Operation Welcome Home will be held at Town Hall, 50 E. Civic Center Drive, Gilbert. It is televised on local Cox Channel 11 and streamed online at Gilbert Live on www.gilbertaz.gov.

Operation Welcome Home events allow the Town of Gilbert to demonstrate a true appreciation and provide a hero’s welcome to our veterans and their families. The Town invites residents to join us in recognizing the valuable service and dedication our military men and women provide our country. Under the program, the Council honors the individuals at a formal council meeting with a Town of Gilbert Proclamation in appreciation of their commitment to our nation. The celebration for each returning serviceperson is a grand event. With the support of veterans’ organizations, service groups, business leaders, employers, community leaders and mentors, the young men and women are reintroduced to our community and are thanked for their effort and sacrifice.

Learn more or fill out a nomination application at www.gilbertaz.gov/operationwelcomehome.

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