Orange soldier to get elaborate welcome home

  • After nine months in Afghanistan, Ryan Emond, 21, of Orange is returning home Saturday. Contributed Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 6/22/2018 9:06:33 PM

ORANGE — When Kimberly Emond wanted to do something for her son, Ryan, when he returned from military service in Afghanistan, she received an outpouring of support from the local community.

“This has gotten bigger than I anticipated, which is wonderful, but at the same time I don’t want to take away from other service people that are currently serving, and have served, to make sacrifices,” she said.

Starting around 1 p.m. today, residents are encouraged to line the street in downtown Orange, starting at Witty’s Funeral Home and going along South Main Street. A procession will take a right at the streetlights and finish at Butterfield Park to welcome home the local soldier after nine months away. Little American flags will be placed along the streets so people can hold them, as well.

Emond said she wants her son to recognize not only the support for his service, but for the military and other sacrifices soldiers make being away from home.

“At the same time, this isn’t all just about Ryan. This is about a local boy serving his country, representing Orange. It is about the community, because his values came from the community,” she said.

Emond’s family has spent almost 25 years in Orange and enjoys the support that a small town offers, she said.

“That is the wonderful thing about being from a small town, it is more of a community,” she said. “When something happens, it affects the whole community.”

Planning the event, Emond said she found support from people wanting to bring their children to teach them the importance of military support, along with others wanting to honor veterans from previous wars who have since died.

“It is reactions like this that make small-town America wonderful,” she said.

Motorcyclists belonging to Rolling Thunder Vermont 1 plan to attend the event, as well as the Military History Expo, the weekend-long event that showcases technology throughout military history.

“It was a very unique experience (for Ryan), I don’t think he’ll ever forget it,” Emond said of her son’s service.


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