In April, local business owners Butch and Linda Elzey were presented with an American Flag and certificate of authenticity from Delaware National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Scott Smith during a appreciation dinner the Elzey family held for the recent return of the Delaware National Guard Unit from Afghanistan. The flag presented to the family was flown on September 11, 2013 at Camp Cowpens Kandahar Air Base, the home base of the Delaware National Guard 198th Expeditionary Signal Battalion Task Force in Afghanistan.
In an email sent to Butch and Linda, retired Major General John A. Macdonald explained why he voted for Butch and Linda to receive the honor. “When a trooper knows he will be taken care of…really taken care of…whether on the battlefield, in garrison or at home, s/he will give beyond his/her all,” wrote Macdonald. “So in a very true sense of the word, by providing to troopers that you and your team deeply care, you are contributing to making our most dangerous and capable weapon, the American service member, even more effective.”
Part of the founding members of the Delaware Community Appreciation Group (DCAG) over eight years ago, the Elzey family have helped to raised over $200,000 for local veterans and their families. The involvement of Butch and Linda Elzey goes beyond the organization though as Butch has counseled over 100 veterans, from his home state of Delaware to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) located in Washington, D.C.
“When these guys and girls are deployed overseas, their families are going through hell,” commented Butch. “They have no clue what they are returning to and that can be difficult.”
In 2013 alone, DCAG helped over 12 veterans by securing money for food and supplies, electric bills and transportation to help veteran families get back on their feet. In October of that year, veteran Mike Harris received quite a shock when Butch and Linda presented Mike with a vehicle to help him get to and from work and college as he continued to work towards his mission to earn a degree and own a house. Mike, who served his country in the United States Army as a young man, had been without a vehicle for six years. In all DCAG has given a total of five vehicles to local veterans.
Although they have received several award and recognitions for their commitment to the United States veteran, the Elzey family was caught off guard by this symbol of gratitude. The fact that the Delaware National Guard 198th Expeditionary Signal Battalion thought of Butch and Linda’s efforts back home while serving in Afghanistan holds extraordinary meaning to the Elzey family.
“This award is truly special,” commented Butch. “Those guys and girls served over there away from their families and that flag hung over their base. It is a heartfelt symbol of appreciation from our troops.”