‘Operation Handshake’ giving military members a warm welcome home


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – A welcome home for West Michigan troops and other festivities are on tap for the Thanksgiving holiday, and one of the busiest days of the year at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport


On Wednesday, November 23rd, airport volunteers including therapy dog teams, and the Patriot Guard Riders will participate in “Operation Handshake,” an event to welcome home returning military members and veterans, and to thank them for their service.

Volunteers will staff both airport concourses from 9am to 7pm, and airport staff will be passing out treats and trinkets to thank passengers for utilizing the airport during the busy time of year. The event is free and open to the public. The volunteers will also be extending holiday cheer to everyone passing through the line. No obligation to remain the whole day, come and go as your time allows.“We know that not every member of our military can make it home during the holidays, but for those returning to West Michigan we want to make it special and let them know we are thankful for their service,” said GFIA Acting President & CEO Phil Johnson.

Family members are encouraged to notify the Patriot Guard Riders of returning military members’ arrival times and flight information. Information can be sent to michigan@patriotguard.org or Tony VanGessel at 616-862-1984.

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