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Salem Community Patriot 6 - June 18, 2010


Soule Rock Garden Gets News Addition


by Robyn Hatch Soule School in Salem always brings


creativity with some of their ideas. In 2008, Ms. Parrill, Soule principal, asked Mrs. Chris Bailey, Soule school assistant, to find a way to decorate the front of the building. The idea of a rock garden “came” to Mrs. Chris Bailey one night— one that involves no real maintenance and one that could keep growing. Ever since, the fifth-grade students have helped to achieve this by each bringing in a rock, while many of the parents donated other rocks. The students then chose a base color to paint their rocks with, which Mrs. Bailey helped to apply. After each fifth grader decorated his/her rock, they were


topped with a clear protective coating. This year, the class added a slate sign that reads, “Grade 5 Rock Garden Est. 2008.” A parent also donated the large stone on which this sign was attached. The fifth graders ended up loving this project because it will live on as they leave these rocks behind.


Army Spc. Keith Stickney Welcomed Home photos by Jay Hobson


by Jay Hobson Manchester-Boston Regional Airport was shrouded in mist and light rain on Saturday as about 20 red-shirted, flag-waving friends and relatives of Army Specialist and Silver Star recipient Keith Stickney, 25, waited for his return from Afghanistan. “Is that his plane?” someone asked as a US Air-Express airplane taxied towards the gate. Necks craned as kids and adults alike strained to see the tarmac outside the waiting area of the second floor of the terminal. “No, I don’t think so,” was the disappointed


reply as the last of the passengers left the plane. The 10:58 a.m. arrival time came and went while the family’s welcoming committee scanned the sky and tarmac for a glimpse of the plane carrying Keith. At about 11:20 a.m., another blue and white US


Air-Express jet with a stylized flag on its tail slowly approached the gate.


Te sign in front of Soule School


A decorated motor home says it all “This has got to be his plane,” someone yelled


above the din of the busy terminal. A long pause ensued as the small jet slowly taxied to the gate. The air behind the engines became distorted and smoky as the engines pushed the craft closer to gate. All eyes of the welcoming friends and loved ones were fixed on the opening shadows of the gateway that connected the outside with the waiting area. Children and their parents – aunts, uncles, Keith’s mom and dad – were straining for a glimpse of Keith, faces showing anticipation and hope. Then, a figure appeared,


framed in the doorway. The camouflage fatigues and a black beret on the tall soldier in the doorway were the unmistakable proof that Keith was home at last, triggering shouts of joy. “There he is!” someone shouted. “Hey Keith!”


Te fifth-grade students


Travel-weary Specialist Spc Keith Stickney’s Family Wishes to Thank you!


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Keith Stickney is back in New Hampshire


“I think I’m gonna cry,” a male voice said. Flags waved, smiles gleamed, eyes misted, and police officers at the terminal saluted and said “Thank you” as the returning soldier passed by.


Hugs, kisses, and strong


embraces engulfed Keith from every direction as he entered the waiting area to applause from strangers waiting to board other planes and employees of the airline and airport. Outside, a motorcade awaited. A white Hummer-style stretch limousine with dozens of motorcycles of the Patriot Guard and a police cruiser with lights flashing escorted Stickney back to Salem. The route took the parade around the airport’s


Perimeter Road onto Mammoth Road in Londonderry, picking up Route 28 in Derry and via Route 28 through Windham and into Salem. A police cruiser from each town picked up the escort and was replaced by the next town all the way to Salem with Salem police being joined by a fire truck. At Keith’s home on Joseph Road, another greeting would soon begin. A large American flag was displayed from


overhead utility wires across the road, and a bed sheet emblazoned with the words Welcome Home was displayed across a parked motor home. The scene at his home was similar to that at the airport—only these friends knew of his imminent arrival by the sounds of blasting fire truck horns and sirens.


It occurred to me as I witnessed the celebration before me that I always introduce myself to people I interview as a reporter from the Salem Community Patriot, even shortening it sometimes to “Hi, Jay Hobson, Salem Patriot.” I never considered how it sounded before, but


I won’t be shortening it anymore because a real Salem community patriot is home.


The Family of Spc Keith Stickney would like to thank everyone who took part in Keith’s homecoming with special thanks to the Russell family who helped organize the parade home which included the Patriot Guard and Chieftans motorcycle groups, the local police departments and the Salem Fire Department for their escort from Manchester airport. To all those who came to the airport and those who stood in the rain along the parade route to welcome him home. Also to his neighbors who decorated his street waving American flags in the rain to welcome home our hometown Hero.


Thanks again,


Bob, Melissa, Matt, Jake, Zack and Spc Keith Stickney


T G R


HE U S A O


F


photos by Robyn Hatch


Plant a Tree with Dad


R


E


S H !!


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