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Ribbon walk ties families to deployed soldiers

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POSTED: April 28, 2010 10:26 a.m.
Photo by Denise Etheridge/

The 2nd Brigade Division Special Troops Battalion got to carry a banner at the head of the Yellow Ribbon Walk for having logged the most miles so far.

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A crowd of Army spouses, children and dogs, most clad in bright yellow T-shirts, gathered under gray, drizzly skies Saturday for the Yellow Ribbon Walk on Fort Stewart. The walk marked the halfway point for the 3rd Infantry Divisions Run/Walk To and From Iraq/Afghanistan, an exercise and  morale boosting initiative begun in January.
“We’ve walked there and are walking back,” said Ginger Cucolo, wife of 3rd ID Commanding General Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo. “Hopefully, the walk will help make the time pass faster until they (deployed soldiers) come home.”
Cucolo, like most of the spouses at Saturday’s walk, wore a yellow T-shirt to signify she had logged 100 miles. Her partner was the Cucolo family dog, Audie, a black and white spotted Great Dane. Audie was named for Sgt. Audie Murphy, the most decorated American veteran of World War II.
 “I walked and swam,” the general’s wife said. “We were told we can count miles any way we do them, like on the treadmill or the elliptical.”
Cucolo said deployed soldiers are logging miles the same way, most of them using exercise equipment while at their forwarding bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The walk is a way for families and active duty soldiers to stay connected, she said.
Jacqui Coffman, one of the walk’s organizers, helped expand the program, said Chris Dent, a recreation delivery system coordinator with MWR. Coffman’s deployed husband, Lt. Col. Richard R. Coffman, is commander of the 1/64 Armor Battalion.
“We’ve done this (walk) before but not on this scale,” Dent said.
“It was the family members’ idea,” said Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Milton. “Since then it’s just grown.”
Milton said participating spouses already have made seven complete “trips” to and from Iraq, and five to Afghanistan.
Family members also wrote the names of their deployed soldiers and loving messages on yellow ribbons, which were hung on trees along the walk route.
The 2nd Brigade Division Special Troops Battalion, credited with having logged the most miles so far, carried a banner at the head of the Yellow Ribbon Walk.
 

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