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thedrifter
04-29-07, 09:03 AM
Special quilt made for local Marines
1 reserve unit to come home this weekend
By Terry Camp

MID MICHIGAN (WJRT) ---It was June when a Marine reserve unit based out of Saginaw left for Iraq. Sunday, those Marines are coming home, and while they have been away, their family members have been busy putting together a quilt.

Seven of the 180 Marines lost their lives in Iraq during this deployment. Three of them were from Mid Michigan. They are part of the quilt as well, never to be forgotten.

"These are not active-duty Marines. These guys are college students, or firefighters," said Lt. Col. Paul McBride, First Battalion, 24th Marines.

They are sons, brothers and fathers, and each one has a square, and each one has a story.

One of the heartbreaking stories is from Oct. 23 when five of the Marines were riding in a vehicle that was hit by a roadside bomb.

"These two gents were killed instantly," McBride said. "Eric's ... both legs were blown off."

Josh Thomas from Saginaw was injured in that blast, and fellow Marine Joe Zelek rescued Thomas. That made for a special family day for the injured Zelek in January.

"Josh Thomas' mother came to that family, and when Joe Zelek walked in, she handed him a bouquet and said, 'Thank you for saving my son's life,' which was one of the nicer moments I have had during this deployment," McBride said.

And it was in January when the idea for the quilt was hatched. Photos were requested.

It just snowballed from there," McBride said. "They started coming in. They brought them in the next family day."

Pam Hendricks of Millington helped sew the quilt together. It was also a good time for families to come together.

On Sunday, the worry will be over for the time being. That's when Hendricks will see her son Adam Herzog once again.

"I can't wait," she said. "I'm so excited. I can't wait to just hug him."

The Marine reservists will be back Sunday around 5:30 p.m. or or 6 p.m.

Ellie