Maine Troop Greeters Adding Volunteers
The Maine Troop Greeters Museum operates at the Bangor International Airport. Each day between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., volunteers staff the museum answering questions, helping educate those who visit about what they do, and why they do it, all while keeping ‘Thanking our Troops’ top of mind.
The Greeters have been there at the airport, greeting arriving veterans since 1991. Museum type statistics however were not documented until 2003. Since then each flight has been greeted, no matter what time of day, weekday or weekend, the numbers have been kept. More than a million and a half veterans have been welcomed home.
Since the Pandemic, due to Federal Covid guidelines, the arriving troops have been greeted via video. Not quite the same, but still very heartwarming to each arriving veteran. That will continue until Federal Covid rules ease. Remember the airport is under Federal rules, and masks for example are still a must for everyone entering the airport.
The Maine Troop Greeters are all volunteers. Hundreds of volunteers, and nobody gets paid. In the past 15 months, as you can imagine, the number of greeters has decreased. Most of the current Troop Greeters are veterans themselves, and a lot of them are older. So naturally in the past 15 months some have aged enough that they just can not keep doing what they do. What the Troop greeters need is people. Volunteers to join them. And you don’t have to be a veteran. Anyone with interest in what they greeters do is welcome to have a discussion with a board member to determine if this is an organization you’d be interested in devoting as few as a couple of hours a week to.
Last week I spent a couple of hours at the airport, at the museum speaking with volunteers, Dick Tinsman and Cathy Czarnecki and came away knowing how passionate they are about the Troop Greeters.
Board member Dick Tinsman says: "The passion of the veteran Troop Greeters when they greet present day troops is phenomenal. The troops and the greeters talk to each other and the current enlisted are incredibly interested in the greeter veteran’s life, which is wonderful for them too."
You too could be a Maine Troop Greeter. All it takes is interest. Here is how to contact the organization to see if it is something you would be interested in being involved with.
And next time you are in the Bangor Airport, whether it’s to fly yourself or pick someone up, check out the Maine Troop Greeters Museum.