Home at last
By SSgt Peter Dean, 107th Airlift Wing
/ Published September 09, 2009
Niagara Fall, NY -- "This is killing me," said Dennis Goerss, reacting to the news that the flight his younger brother Justin and other 107th Airlift Wing Security Force members were on, had been delayed an additional 25 minutes.
Goerss along with family members, friends and loved ones gathered at the Buffalo International Airport on Sept. 3 awaiting the arrival of the final wave of 107th AW Security Force members to return home from their six month deployment. While deployed the 107th members were an essential part of the 447th Air Expeditionary Group Security Force Squadron, providing base security on and around Sather Air Base, Baghdad, Iraq.
"I used to be his hero but now he's mine," said Dennis Goerss, referring to his younger brother Senior Airman Justin Goerss. "They're all heroes," he added.
"Amazing, can't describe the feeling," said Senior Airman Justin Goerss, referring to being home.
"I'm relived, it's good to be back home," said Senior Airman Stephanie Hopkins as she was embraced by more than a dozen family and loved ones.
"The first glimpse of her face was amazing absolutely amazing," said Bobbie Hopkins, Stephanie's mother. "I'm so proud of her," she added.
"You should see our street, all the neighbors have welcome home signs and balloons on their mail boxes, "said Bobbie Hopkins. "They'll all be out cheering when we get there," she added.
While deployed Airman Hopkins, an avid singer, performed the National Anthem during a Fourth of July celebration held on Sather Air Base. In their limited free time, Hopkins along with other unit members participated in voluntary programs that aided local Iraqi families with basic necessities such as food, toiletries and clothing.
Since 9/11 the 107th has routinely deployed its members throughout the country and the world in response to both state and federal contingencies.