Ride Report posted for Bobcat

Photo by Sean Carpenter

Photo by Sean Carpenter

 More Carpenter photos here

The original request and a short bio of Sgt. Preece.

My daughter, SGT Jeanna M. Preece is stationed at COB Speicher in Iraq. Her tour of duty is over on April 7 and she will be going back to Ft. Hood, TX to demobilize! Then she will be coming home by way of Philadelphia International Airport. How do I request an Hero’s Welcome for her? Location Chester County, PA.

SGT Preece decided in 2005 that she wanted to make a difference and make her life count for something.  At age 38 she enlisted in the US Army Reserves.  She turned 39 in “boot camp” in Ft. Leonard Wood, MO.  She left there and went to AIT school in Ft Huachuca, AZ.  After AIT she came home and did her Reserve training at APG, MD.  She was deployed to Iraq in April 2008.  She is serving as a Intelligence Analyst with TASK FORCE ODIN,  COB Speicher, Iraq.

The original plan was to escort our package from the airport to home in Oxford Pa.  But Sgt Preece decided to surprise her mom and come home early.  Thankfully, one of her brothers knew about the welcome we had planned and let mom know that Jeanna was coming home early.  Mom decided to hold a welcome home party the following weekend.  The WWR and AHW would plan for an escort from home to the church for the party.

Maria of AHW spoke with Mom and got the final info.  During that call, Mom said that Jeanna saw a bunch of small flags in the house and was told that they were having a small party for her at the church.  When Sgt Preece saw the flags, she teared up a bit and said “This is what all the soldiers dream about”.

The Mission.

We had a beautiful spring day for this very special escort.  The temperature went to the mid 70’s and we had about 35 bikes turn out for a great cause.  We rallied near the Preece home where Watchmen from 3 states awaited KSU time to begin the mission.  Just as we were forming up, the Oxford Boro PD joined us to take us through town and make a grand entrance at Sgt. Preece’s home.

As we pulled onto our heroes street, the family came out to witness an outpouring of respect and affection for their daughters service.  Sgt. Preece was in shock at the sight and slowly began to realize that this was for her.  She came down her steps to the hugs and applause of our band of well wishers.  After the greeting, she was asked if she’d like to ride with one of us for the trip to her luncheon and she quickly accepted.  Thanks Country Mike for taking such good care of her.  I spoke with the lead LEO officer and he said he would take us by the Mayors house on the way out of town.  We made our way through town and the LEO escort turned off at the end of their jurisdiction. We continued on to the church where the luncheon was to be held.

As we approached the Safe Harbor Baptist church in Cochranville PA, we could see A Heroes Welcome flag line and many friends and family standing outside to welcome Sgt. Preece.  The Cochranville Fire Dept. was there with several trucks to add their gratitude to Sgt. Preece.  After parking the bikes and greeting the other people present we were all invited inside the church for a short welcome home ceremony.

Pastor Gary Gilbert was MC for the ceremony and introduced several people to present their thanks to Sgt. Preece.  Maria of AHW presented a certificate of appreciation, a representative of the State Senator for this district presented a very nice citation of gratitude, the local VFW presented their citation of gratitude and a representative of the Mayor of Oxford read a proclamation declaring this day, April 18, 2009, as Sgt. Jeanna Preece day.  I then presented our honor coin to Sgt Preece.  The family had asked me to present an honor coin to Pastor Gilbert for his service in the USAF during the Vietnam War.  When Pastor Gilbert returned to the podium, he was quite choked up and could not speak.  I fear I am forever labeled as the man who made a Pastor cry.  It was my honor to present the coin to this very “veteran” friendly man of God in recognition of his service to our nation.  After his voice returned, he thanked everyone and directed us to the adjoining building for the luncheon.

We had fried chicken and all the trimmings.  It was very good and we all enjoyed mingling with the other people who were there to welcome this hero home.

A special thanks to the Oxford Boro PD for their excellent escort though town.  To the Cochranville Fire Dept, thanks for your wonderful show of support for the Preece family.  AHW, your presence always makes for a special event.  I must thank Jeannie Preece for allowing us to join her family on this very happy occasion.  And to Sgt. Jeanna Preece, thank you for your service, you are a classy lady and we wish you well in the future.  Welcome Home Soldier.