BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Sunday was a day to recognize close to 50 members of the Buffalo based, National Guard 427th brigade.
The Army Medical team has been home now for close to three months, but this was a chance for Company C to come together again, and for their commanding officers to say thanks as part of the Freedom Salute Awards Ceremony.
U.S Army Sergeant Gary Darnell said, "They decided they needed to do something more for the soldiers on their return. Each soldier that is deployed will receive certain awards and gifts thanking them for their service."
This gift giving ceremony is relatively new for the National Guard, starting just after 9-11. It is a way to say thank you to all the men and women for the sacrifices they make.
This group was stationed at the Kandahar Air Base and provided medical needs to U.S. soldiers in surgical units. Some also provided care to Afghan detainees.
Sunday's ceremony is also part of the National Guard's re-integration process helping soldiers return to a normal life after their service.
For some of the soldiers, part of their return home can be challenging in ways that are difficult for many of us to comprehend.
U.S Army Specialist Ashley Schmitt had a tough time getting back to the swing of things. She said, "You're used to all the jets and rocket attacks going over and then coming home to complete silence and just getting back to the normal things are difficult to do. Not everyone understands unless they went there with you."
One of those honored today was Army Sgt. Penny Eddy.
In September, News 4 was there when she returned home after six months overseas. Several months later we caught up with her again to see how the process of coming home has been.
Sgt. Penny said, "It wasn't easy at first, but I have a lot of family and friends that are in the area and hanging out with them once or twice a week definitely helps. It was a good experience. I definitely don't regret going."
To help her transition even further, Sgt. Eddy will be starting nursing school next week.
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