Stationed thousands of miles away, many soldiers say receiving a care package can make their entire month. More than a dozen soldiers from the same platoon in Afghanistan arrived in Webster Saturday to thank the people whose donations lifted their spirits over the past year.
"Some of the lessons that was learned from Vietnam was that the guys came back and they felt disassociated from the people and everything," said Richard Comins, Webster Rotary. "Adopt a platoon was started to eliminate that problem."
Seventeen soldiers arrived home Saturday after 9 months in Afghanistan.
"It feels fantastic to be back home, it's a feeling that's hard to describe," said Carl Kanerva, 210th Brigade Support Battalion.
All the men were part of the same maintenance platoon.
"We make sure the trucks run, weapons function, night vision works," said Kanerva.
Carl Kanerva is part of the 210th Brigade Support Battalion. He's just one of the soldiers that received more than 60 care packages over the last year. Members of the Webster Rotary sent more than 800 items to Afghanistan.
"Crackers, gum, hand wipes," said Comins.
On Saturday, the rotary invited the platoon to Webster to meet the faces behind those donations. Every year they send care packages to a different group.
"They sent this package to the other side of the world just so I could be a little more comfortable and a little bit happier and better enjoy my time over there," said Kanerva.
With Christmas coming next month, these donations are needed even more. The soldiers visited with family before returning to Fort Drum this weekend. They will return home for the holidays.
"Just being able to hug him, see him face to face is the best," said Mary Kanerva, Carl's mom.