Message from OWHMD Founder – March 2017

The old farmer’s Almanac infamous saying is if March comes in like a lion, it will leave like a lamb. Well, let’s hope it does, as I am ready for some warm weather! In actuality, the month of March for Operation Welcome Home Maryland is one of our favorite months of the year, as it’s our birthday month.

This year, we will be celebrating our 10th year anniversary and invite you all to help us celebrate on April 20th, at 2 pm. Mark your calendars now! More details will be forth coming!

Many volunteers have asked me just how we all got started, so I thought I would share our beginnings. I was on active duty in DC, selecting Navy medical service members for deployments overseas to support contingency operations. I realized that the rotation back home included a stop at BWI, before they reached their final destination.

I recall the horrific welcome homes our Vietnam Veterans had upon their return, and knew this could not be repeated. I learned that BWI airport receives the largest number of returning service members from overseas, from all airports in the nation. I asked the USO if they were greeting the troops, and to my surprise they were not due to a lack of volunteers.

So I recruited a few close friends, who recruited a few of their friends and before long, we had a small contingency of amazing volunteers who came out to fulfill our mission of giving our servicemen a Heroes welcome home. I am very grateful to those who helped me get off this organization off the ground, the wonderful Team Leaders past and present who dedicate their time and talent to this organization.

It would not be where it is today without the help of all of these fine individuals, and thousands, I mean thousands of volunteers who have come out and helped us through these past 10 years.

Through the years we estimate that we have greeted over 700,000 servicemen, and possibly more! We have witnessed over 50 wedding engagements, received numerous awards, including the Presidential Volunteer Award and others.

The greatest accomplishment I must admit, is to see each Sailor, Airmen, Marine and Soldier smile, as we shake their hands, a ”welcome home”. It gives great comfort to know there are good people in our world today, and that as a community, we stand behind our Servicemen. We know the sacrifice they and their families have made. We will never forget!

“To ease another’s heartache, is to forget one’s own”. Abraham Lincoln

See you at the airport!


Kathy Thorp

About Operation Welcome Home Maryland!

Since March 2007, Operation Welcome Home (Maryland) greets Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guard service members returning from overseas. We average about four welcome home event per week, and YOU could be part of the excitement.

Individuals, corporations, youth groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, civic organizations, religious organizations, and government agencies have all participated in events since our founding in March 2007. Volunteers help decorate the lobby with patriotic signs and banners. They also package “goodie bags” for the troops, many of whom are hungry, thirsty, and tired from their travels and will be waiting on a connecting flight.

When the troops arrive through the doors of the International Arrival terminal, we shower them with praise, cheering them on, hugging them, offering them a “goodie bag,” and thanking them for their service.

We invite you to come on out to the International terminal at BWI and help us welcome them home! Take a look at the EVENT CALENDAR on the right side of this website to see the current month’s event dates or call our hotline at (410) 630-1555.

We are also meeting many unexpected flights so keep watching the calendar for changes; we suggest putting our hotline telephone number in your cell phone to get up to the minute news on new flights we will be meeting…

Thank you for your interest in supporting our troops and giving them the hero’s welcome home they truly deserve!!! We also encourage military personnel from all services to come in uniform to greet your fellow servicemembers!

ATTENTION: Companies, schools, church groups and other organizations: We invite you to come out and support our welcome home events, and/or contribute water and snacks for the troops; please email us at Volunteers are always needed to give our troops the hero’s welcome that they deserve.

Email any questions you may have to:

Thank you!  Be sure to Visit us on Facebook  OWHMD Facebook Page

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