Bay area soldiers headed for holiday homecoming

7:56 AM, Dec 24, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Bay area soldiers headed for holiday homecoming


UPDATE: Florida National Guard troops return home!

Earlier Report:

Plant City, Florida -- Hundreds of members of the National Guard are on their way home for the holidays, thanks to help from 10 News viewers.

If you think the best Christmas gifts come from the North Pole, you may be way off. On Tuesday morning, the best presents will come from Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

That's where 300 men and women from the Florida National Guard boarded buses Monday night. And they're heading to Tampa Bay for a homecoming you made possible.

The soldiers in this unit just spent nearly a year in Qatar, in the Middle East. They came back to American soil on Sunday, but they're still assigned to a base in Mississippi until early next year. 

Donations from businesses and 10 News viewers raised the $35,000 the American Legion needed to put them all on charter buses.

Those buses are heading south as we speak, bringing them home to the Bay Area and their families for Christmas.

The first bus is expected in Plant City at around 9:45 Tuesday morning. Buses will then roll into Lake Wales in Polk County just before 10 and Arcadia in DeSoto County right before 11 o'clock.

10 News will have coverage of this Christmas miracle this morning here on and on 10 News at Noon.

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