Area Reservists Honored

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Army Reservist Felicitas Lopez felt the patriotic love ringing throughout the room.

"It's a wonderful feeling. It's so good that we haven't had any fatalities and everyone is home safe. It's just the best feeling you can feel," Lopez said.

It’s a feeling shared by these 85 troops, all of which received a special thank you and welcome home ceremony Saturday. Speakers praised the troops’ sacrifices of transforming their weekend duty in the reserves into a yearlong mission in Iraq.

"That's what we try to tell them. They get it in their mindset that you might get a phone call tomorrow or your unit maybe. We don't know, so it's just a mindset," First Sergeant Leonard Palmer said.

Lopez knows all about that mindset. In January 2003, the 26-year-old was part of the first group in the 826th Ordinance Company to be deployed to Iraq, but instead of going with her company, Lopez and others were transferred into another unit and away from their comrades.

"We were all trained as one. We were trained to be together, then all of a sudden the military pulled us out left and right, so we were mad at first, but like the army teaches us, we overcame," Lopez said.

The troops also overcame the notion that reservists serve mainly from the sidelines, proving their vital importance in winning the War on Terror.

"I spent time in active duty, and the reservists we're the weekend warriors. It's not that way anymore. We have a lot of bring to the table as does any reserve unit," Palmer said.

It’s dedication, service and honor these soldiers know firsthand, as civilians at home and soldiers abroad.