PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Members of nine different University of New Hampshire sports as well as members of the athletic administration were present at the Pease International Tradeport to welcome military servicemen and women back into the United States on Sunday, Oct. 6.
For a second year, UNH teamed up with the Pease Greeters, a volunteer group that greets military personnel back home with a standing ovation, food, gifts, services and more.
The mission of the Pease Greeters is to welcome troops passing through Pease International Tradeport on their way to, or from, Afghanistan, Iraq or any other areas of conflict in the world. Additionally, the Pease Greeters aim to create an environment that reflects the respect and high esteem they hold all veterans. Finally, the organization strives to promote broad participation by the general public in this welcoming of heroes, paying special attention to educating children by instilling respect and admiration for the troops through formal ceremonies for each flight.
Since 2008, over 600 flights have been welcomed by the Pease Greeters. Volunteers welcomed approximately 250-280 troops into the airport on Sunday afternoon. The flight marked the 119th arrival of troops into Pease this year.
“We all would not be having the opportunity here at the University of New Hampshire without the sacrifice by the men and women in the armed forces.” said Dick Umile, head coach of the men’s ice hockey team. “It was a great experience for all us to share with them as they arrived at Pease.”
“These students are given a lot – they’re receiving an education and playing a sport they love,” says Cathy Coakley, UNH student-athlete development coordinator. “We aim to educate them the opportunities that they have and give back to the community.”
“Pease Greeters was a fabulous experience for all of us, particularly for the student-athletes who get to see those who are fighting for our country,” said Dot Sheehan, senior associate athletic director for external relations. “Our student-athletes were taken with the experience and appreciate the efforts by our military."