Christmas Eve U.S. Soldier Homecoming

On Christmas Eve 2007, the Preczewski family will welcome home their daughter, Kristen Preczewski, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army currently serving her country in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Kristen will fly from Kuwait City, Kuwait and is expected to land at Hartsfield-Jackson airport on Dec. 24. Her welcome crew will include her father, Colonel (retired) Stanley “Stas” Preczewski, the vice president of academic and student affairs at Georgia Gwinnett College and former vice dean at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY; her mother, Jean Preczewski; and her two younger brothers, Michael and David.

On Christmas Eve 2007, the Preczewski family will welcome home their daughter, Kristen Preczewski, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army currently serving her country in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Kristen will fly from Kuwait City, Kuwait and is expected to land at Hartsfield-Jackson airport on Dec. 24. Her welcome crew will include her father, Colonel (retired) Stanley “Stas” Preczewski, the vice president of academic and student affairs at Georgia Gwinnett College and former vice dean at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY; her mother, Jean Preczewski; and her two younger brothers, Michael and David.

One would assume that this family from Buford, Georgia would be overwhelmed with excitement welcoming their daughter home for the holidays, but the blessings do not end there. Second lieutenant Michael Preczewski, currently serving as a medical services officer with the 299th Forward Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany, will arrive home only one day before his sister on Dec. 23. To complete the family’s reunion, David Preczewski arrived home earlier this week from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia where he serves as an ROTC cadet.

“This is like no other Christmas we’ve ever had,” says Stas. “My heart is so full. I am so thankful for this chance to be together as a family again.”

Kristen is the executive officer of the Headquarters Company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Forward Support Battalion operating out of Forward Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, providing logistical support to the entire airborne brigade in the zone.

During her down time, she implemented a “New Shoes” campaign to provide the first-ever pairs of shoes for Afghan workers who are building a new U.S. Army base in Jalalabad. More than 30 pairs were donated from families in the States in an effort to reach out to these impoverished workers.

She also teaches remedial math and English to U.S. Army soldiers who are attempting to earn their diplomas.

Service is the thread that seems to hold this family together. In a Jalalabad holiday greeting video produced for hometown media, Kristen thanks her family for their support adding, “… and I’m proud to be here.”

Kristen had an opportunity on Dec. 19 to speak with U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson. The conversation, according to SFC Eric Hendrix was heartfelt and Kristen enjoyed the Senator’s sentiments. Hendrix adds that the phone call was “a big morale boost for all of us involved.”

“I’m proud to have had the privilege of serving my country in the U.S. Army for 26 years, and now I have the opportunity to continue that service to Georgia through our students here at Georgia Gwinnett College,” says Stas. “There is a drive to serve that is embedded in our family and we just want to do our part.”

That same spirit of service can be seen at Georgia Gwinnett College where many individuals and groups have rallied together to serve U.S. troops.

Students in Professor Douglas Johnson’s organizational behavior class at GGC collected more than 370 toys for Toys for Tots as part of their service learning project. Other students in Professor Meg Keily-Listermann’s American government classes participated in VFW Post 12002’s Operation Santa program this year, collecting toys for children of deployed soldiers. They also wrote holiday cards and recorded podcasts for the troops and their families. In addition, Betty Wood, an assistant in the School of Science and Technology, has organized the sending of six boxes of cookies and a box of more than 150 cards from GGC students to soldiers in Jalalabad.

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