CedarStone Bank announced earlier this year that, through the efforts of bank employees, directors, customers and friends of the Wilson County community, over $3,300 was raised to help bring Lebanon’s National Guard unit home for the holidays in December of last year.
“This effort was a great success and we will continue to raise the money to reimburse the families’ expenses for busing their loved ones home for Christmas,” said John B. Bryan, vice-president of CedarStone Bank.
The 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Tennessee’s largest National Guard unit, which includes troops from Lebanon’s guard post, left December 5, for Hattiesburg, Mississippi, for training before being deployed overseas to either Iraq or Afghanistan at the beginning of February 2010. The troops were allowed to come home for Christmas from December 22 to 28, but the government will not pay for the return trip home.
Retired 1st Sgt. Kenny Reich started an effort to raise the money needed to bring the troops home on four charter buses, which cost nearly $12,000. Reich asked the community to help in this endeavor.
“Our board chairman, Nelson Steed, who is a retired Colonel in the National Guard, told us about this situation and we wanted to get involved. One of our employees was directly affected by this situation. We were closely tied to this effort and were happy to help out,” added Bob McDonald, CedarStone Bank president.
“As sad as it is to think about, this may be the last Christmas these men and women have with their families, so we needed to give them the chance to come home,” Sgt. Reich said.