'Operation Handshake' welcomes military members home for the holidays

Operation handshake

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - West Michigan troops were welcomed home by crowds of people on one of the busiest travel days of the year at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

On Wednesday, Nov. 22, airport volunteers and the Patriot Guard Riders participated in “Operation Handshake.” The annual event is held to welcome home returning military members and veterans, and to thank them for their service.

Volunteers lined both airport concourses all day long, and airport employees passed out treats and trinkets to thank passengers for flying Ford.

“We appreciate our military year-round, but around the holidays we are extra thankful for their service knowing that many of them don’t get to make it home for a warm turkey dinner or spend time with their families,” said GFIA President & CEO Jim Gill in a press release.

“This is what Thanksgiving is really all about,” said VanGessel, Captain of the Patriot Guard Riders of West Michigan in the same release. “What we see each year is an inspiration."

If you're traveling this holiday, GFIA encourages you to arrive at least 90-120 minutes before your flight and to stay up-to-date on the latest travel notices and information about what you can or cannot bring on your flight by visiting www.tsa.gov.

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