'Temporary' Homecoming For Alabama Army National Guard Company

Unusual Homecoming For The 158th Support Maintenance Company In Tallassee
Unusual Homecoming For The 158th Support Maintenance Company In Tallassee

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Mission accomplished for Linda Gartland. "I figured we could do it," she said.

Did they ever. Gartland and a few more spouses of the 158th Support Maintenance Company raised $10,000 to get the company home for Thanksgiving. The 158th deployed 3 weeks ago to begin training in Indiana. The VFW donated another $10,000, raising the total to $20,000, cash that will charter 5 buses from Indiana back to Tallassee.

The donated money from the public came from fundraisers like the ones Gartland had recently in Prattville. On the eve of Specialist Jim Gartland's homecoming, Linda Gartland is a little surprised they met the goal, surprised considering so many people throughout the state are struggling financially in this troubled economy.

"We got pennies and dollars. A lot of people said 'we'd love to help but we don't have any money.' I said that's okay.. just pray for the troops," said Gartland.

By the raising the money to bring the troops home for Thanksgiving, Linda Gartland is fully aware this sets up another gut-wrenching, emotional goodbye when the 158th goes back to Indiana for more training on Sunday yet Gartland wouldn't have it any other way.

"I know it's going to be tough, but something could happen to him, something could happen to me. It'll be one more time I get to see him," said Gartland.

Once they're back in Indiana, the 158th leaves 5 days before Christmas for a dangerous mission in Iraq, and they'll be gone for nearly a year.

"They will go out and retrieve the damaged or bombed out vehicles and try to fix them," said Gartland.

For now though Linda Gartland is putting that out of her mind and thinking about what she has to do. After all,  someone's coming home for Thanksgiving. Her husband of only one year.

"I'm anxious and nervous. I gotta figure out what to cook and cook his favorite stuff," said Gartland.

The 158th leaves around 8 PM Tuesday in Indiana and should arrive around 3am Thanksgiving Day at the armory in Tallassee.