This year, the Christensen staff made a pact to have a planned staff bonding event once a month. In September, we had a spaghetti dinner in our UAHD’s apartment and in October, we went apple picking at Demeritt Farm. For this month, one RA on the staff suggested we go to Pease International Airport in Portsmouth to be Pease Greeters this past Sunday! This meant we would all arrive at the airport to greet the soldiers returning from overseas. We gathered the day before to make a banner that read “Welcome home, love UNH”.
We arrived at the airport about an hour and a half before the flight arrived Sunday evening, got a tour of the airport, then mingled with other Pease Greeters. Many of them had dogs with them which occupied us for a while, but many others wanted to chat with us about the program and what we are doing at school. When the flight arrived, everyone lined the hallways with applause and signs for all the soldiers who walked off the plane. I’d estimate there were about seventy-five troops—male and female of all ages. Many of them appeared exhausted, overwhelmed, and sad, but they appreciated our greetings, handshakes, and support. We were then given the opportunity to talk with the troops before we left. Some were home and live close to Portsmouth, but others still had one more flight to go before officially going home. A few of us talked with a veteran for a while because he is always a Pease Greeter to support the soldiers in the position he once was in. Overall, the experience was amazing and I’m glad we agreed to do it for November staff bonding.