Charleston: The Capitol: Members of the West Virginia State Senate stepped up to make certain West Virginia soldiers attached to the 363rd Military Police Company out of Grafton, and Jane Lew, get to see their families before heading overseas.
The 363rd has been training at Fort Dix in Trenton, NJ for its scheduled one year deployment to the Middle East. Last week the unit along with the 307th Military Police Company of New Kensington, PA was granted a four day pass, but no transportation was provided to get the soldiers back home.
A Pennsylvania businessman learned of the soldiers’ plight and arranged transportation with a bus company, and then started to raise money. He initially called Senator Dave Sybolt of Preston County who contacted Senator Erik Wells of Kanawha County who serves as Senate Chair of the Committee on the Military.
Sen. Wells turned to the members of the Senate, for help after exhausting several other attempts for assistance.
“I just started to call every member and asked if they would be willing to donate to get the money to pay for the trip,” Sen. Wells said. He added that every member he spoke to was quick to donate.
“We all feel that as a state, we owe a debt to these men and women and the least we could do is bring them home one last time before they go into harm’s way,” said Sen. Wells , a Lieutenant Public Affairs Officer in the United States Navy Reserve.
Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin was Sen. Wells’ first call.
“It is my pleasure to help these troops return just for a brief trip to visit and say goodbye to their families in hopes for a safe return,” said President Tomblin.
The firm, W.L. Roenigk Transportation Co., provided the buses at a reduced rate to make certain the soldiers were able to spend time with their families before heading to the front lines.
In addition to Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin (D- Logan) and Senator Erik Wells (D- Kanawha) those contributing included Senators: Clark S. Barnes (R- Randolph), Donna J. Boley (R- Pleasants), Edwin J. Bowman (D- Hancock), Larry J. Edgell (D- Wetzel), Douglas E. Facemire (D- Braxton), Karen L. Facemyer (R- Jackson), John Pat Fanning (D- McDowell), Dan Foster (D-Kanawha), Mike Green (D- Raleigh), Walt Helmick (D- Pocahontas), Evan H. Jenkins (D- Cabell), Jeffrey V. Kessler (D- Marshall), William R. Laird IV (D- Fayette), Brooks McCabe (D- Kanawha) and Corey Palumbo (D- Kanawha).