Ride Report for Ride Captain Kelly “DirtyDog” Johnson

One of the happiest missions has got to be welcoming home a soldier that you met when you escorted him to leave for deployment.  Army mom Karen Blevins contacted us to see if we would be able to welcome home her son, SGT Robert Derr, upon his arrival for R&R.  We were overjoyed to welcome him back home to be reunited with his 11 year old daughter and the rest of his family!

SGT Derr serves with the 378th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion as an Information Tech Specialist.  (We were there to escort his unit in November as they left for Afghanistan.)  He has earned two Army Achievement medals as well as Certificates of Achievement.  He has also helped to build a FOB in less than 30 days – a first!

Due to flight changes and delays, plans to meet him at Harrisburg International Airport were scrapped in favor of surprising him at a “troop support” party being held at Hot Z Pizza in Lancaster.  Members of Humble Hearts For Hope were on hand – and I cannot thank them enough for all that they do to support the 378th as well as other members of our armed services.

Rob was surprised and touched by knowing that we came out to thank him for his service.  While there, we were also able to thank his sister Stephanie who has been in the Army for 19 years so far.

Words cannot express our gratitude for our soldiers that step forward to protect us.  Many thanks to the soldiers’ families that await their loved one’s return; we were honored to be a part of Rob’s welcome home celebration.

Submitted by: Kelly “Dirty Dog” Johnson