The Maine Troop Greeters have spent more than 13 years shaking the hands of and offering expressions of gratitude to more than 1.5 million military servicemen and women who have come through Bangor International Airport, heading out on overseas deployment or returning from it.

These dedicated volunteers started meeting military flights in Bangor as troops returned from the first Gulf War. After 9/11, greeters again gathered to thank the troops deploying to Afghanistan and Iraq. The Maine Troop Greeters’ mission continues today as military personnel continue to serve our country overseas. Greeters receive no compensation for their time, only the joy they receive from watching the strained faces of over-deployed, over-worked troops turn to smiles as they realize their dedication is truly appreciated.

Ask any troop greeter why they do it and they will inevitably reply, “It’s all about the troops.” But now it’s time to recognize the Maine Troop Greeters.

One service wife summed it up well. She wrote, “In our 15 years in Marine Corps life, my husband has never been honored or cared for in that way. What you are doing is amazing and much appreciated.”