ATHOL - A Thurman career soldier who's been serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan was welcomed home by about 50 townspeople in a banquet held Jan. 10 in the patriotically decorated the town hall.
Army Sgt. First Class Kevin Olden of Bowen Hill was honored by family, friends and neighbors and local residents attending the luncheon event.
He and his family members arrived in a black limousine, and Olden was cheered by the group as he was surrounded by friends and took his place at the head table.
A drill sergeant, Olden has served 28 years in the Army, and just completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Thurman Town Supervisor Red Pitkin gave a short speech and all were invited to eat at the buffet prepared by many town residents and friends.
Olden thanked the townspeople, on behalf of troops in Afghanistan, for the gift packages Thurman residents routinely send overseas.
A cake decorated in red white and blue - and donated by the Warrensburg Grand Union - was cut and served to the group. A video, narrated by Olden, was shown depicting the troops in Afghanistan.
Following the ceremony, townsfolk sat and talked for hours.
Olden said he will be presenting the town with a silk map of Afghanistan and Iraq. Town officials plan on revamping a display of artifacts relating to local veterans and those still serving in the military.
The committee organizing the event expresses special thanks to Paula Hubert, Maria Ligon and Ruth Keller.
Also, thanks go to Terry and Nancy Beadnell for the flower centerpiece and corsage, to Glenda Duell for the limousine, and to all who sent food dishes and helped. They also thank Joan Harris for her assistance in launching the event.