Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Welcome Home Message for the 81st

As the 3,200 guard members, including 2,400 from Washington, serving in the 81st Brigade make their way home after finishing a nine-month tour of duty in Iraq, the friends, families, and communities they left behind enthusiastically embrace their veterans and applaud their service to our country.

150 soldiers arrived last week at McChord Air Force Base. The rest of the brigade is expected to return over the next two weeks. They had been in Iraq since last October. Their missions focused on convoy security, force protection, provincial reconstruction and base operations. They logged more than 3 million miles of travel in Iraq, according to the Army.

State Representative Larry Seaquist, a former US Navy warship captain and Pentagon strategist who completed a 32-year Navy career in 1994, took the time to personally welcome home Washington’s guard members of the 81st, issuing the following statement:

“It is my great honor to welcome home the 3,200 soldiers of Washington National Guard’s 81st Brigade.

You are our brothers, our sisters, our mothers and fathers, our husbands and wives who have served our country overseas with courage and grace.

Before you left for Iraq last October, I had the privilege of visiting some of you at the Yakima training facility as you were preparing to deploy. You were leaving jobs as teachers, fire fighters, and sales managers. Some were preparing to leave behind a pregnant wife or newly born child, others an aging parent. Some of you were young men just starting out in life, some had the grey hairs of men and women who have been through the ropes a time or two already.

One moment that stands out vividly for me was when we spoke of what we could do for you back home while you were deployed. The one thing the few troops I spoke with asked for was a flag that had flown over the state capitol. It made me reflect on how much we ask of our country’s finest, and how little they ask of us in return.

It is my hope that over the days, months, and years to come, we can offer up whatever assistance is needed to help in the transition from active duty to normal life back here at home.

We missed you all and welcome you back with pride and gratitude. To each and every one of you, thank you for your sacrifice and your service.

And we will not forget the ultimate sacrifice of Specialist Samuel Stone who gave his life while serving our nation.

Our National Guard and their families can be very proud of their expert contributions to the security of our nation, as well as the citizens of countries all across the globe.”

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rep. Reuven Carlyle is the man about town - especially this upcoming Thursday

Rep. Reuven Carlyle loves talking to people in his district. While residents of the 36th district can frequently find him out and about the area's neighborhoods, Thursday there are two special opportunities to casually meet and chat with the district's newest state rep.

For residents of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, Carlyle is hosting the second meeting of his “Coffee with Carlyle” series from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Caffe Fiore (5405 Leary Ave NW).

During the small, informal meeting, constituents can share their thoughts, questions, criticisms and ideas about state and local issues with Carlyle and each other over coffee. The Ballard event is the second coffee chat this summer, following a kickoff in June in Phinney Ridge.

Later that day, constituents are invited to stop by Carlyle's new district office at the base of Queen Anne (3131 Western Ave, Suite 421 in the Northwest Work Lofts). Rep. Reuven Carlyle and Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles recently opened the office and are hosting an open house from 5-7 p.m. Whether you have a particular question or concern, or simply want to check out the new digs, all constituents are welcome to stop by.

Can’t make it to the open house? Carlyle and Kohl-Welles encourage constituents to swing by anytime to ask questions or set up an appointment. The office is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Carlyle’s new office can also be reached at (206) 216-3184.