Spc. Rebekah Lampman, Warrior Transition Brigade, was brought to tears when she got an unexpected phone call last week that completely changed her holiday plans.
“My mom and dad said all they wanted for Christmas was for me to come home,” Lampman said. She wouldn’t have been able to do so without the help of Let’s Bring Em Home, an organization that raises money to fly soldiers, ranked specialist and below, home for the holidays.
“We currently have eight troops who have been approved from Fort Hood,” said Kat Jensen Barns, vice president of the organization.
Spc. Alexander Polson, 1st Cavalry Division, received a plane ticket to Massachusetts two days after contacting the nonprofit for help.
“We leave for Korea at the beginning of next year,” he said. “I won’t see my family for the next year, so it was important to go home.”
Now in its 12th year, Let’s Bring Em Home’s funds are entirely donation-based. The first year, founder Ernie Stewart asked for donations and received more than $14,000 to fly soldiers home in December, cementing his desire to make it an annual tradition.
As of Monday, the organization had received $94,287 in donations for 2013, as well as 587,500 miles donated, from a total of 883 donors. A total of 123 tickets were handed out for this holiday season.
Lampman flew home to Virginia on Monday, still speechless.
“It’s unreal,” she said. “I haven’t been home for Christmas since 2011.” She is looking forward to visiting her brother, his wife and her nephew, now 3. He was just born the last time she saw him.
“This is going to be the best Christmas I’ve ever had,” Lampman said.
Go to www.lbeh.org for more information.