Wednesday, May 14, 2008

3rd Brigade's Homecoming Impacts Local Economy

Soldiers return positively impacts local economy

Lindsey Connell
WTVM News Reporter

May 13, 2008
FORT BENNING, Ga. (WTVM)-- The eighth wave of 3rd Brigade soldiers has hit town.
A plane carrying two hundred and thirty two troops touched down Tuesday evening, around 7:30 PM.
Once the soldiers cleared customs and made it through processing, they marched out, broke formation and rushed to greet their loved ones.
The 3rd Brigade's fifteen month deployment to Iraq is credited with the capture of at least six hundred insurgents.
And with thousands of those soldiers now staging a friendly invasion in and around Columbus, News Leader 9 set out to see if businesses are reaping the benefits.
Sergeant Mark Fedler just returned from Iraq this past Saturday. He and his son waited patiently Tuesday night for his wife, Private First Class Megan Shaw Fedler to return from Iraq as well. The couple have been saving up to purchase a plot of land and build a house but they also plan on spending some of their earnings on smaller purchases.
'You feel out of touch because music changes and fashion changes. You come home, you blow a little to relax and unwind and you actually feel like you did something. You made all this money and now you see a little bit of the product of all your hard work,' said Fedler.
And retail stores, including those in the Peachtree Mall are noticing an increase in sales over the past few weeks.
'Each department has really been affected as far as our sales, definitely for Mother's Day. It's been great for us and we really appreciate it,' said Charlene Johnson, the Assistant Manager of Macy's.
Ranger Joe's, a military supply store in Columbus, has seen a twelve percent increase in sales as incoming soldiers restock their supplies.
Some local tattoo parlors are also noticing a steady stream of customers from the military.
'Absolutely seen quite a bit of business come back and I'm real happy about it myself,' said Ghost, an employee at Above All Tattoos in Columbus.
Business owners say the 3rd Brigade's friendly invasion of local business's will be a big boost to the local economy.
Three more flights are scheduled to return May 15th.
Hundreds more soldiers are also set to return on May sixteenth, eighteenth, and twentieth.
Stay tuned to WTVM for our continued coverage of the 3rd Brigade's homecoming.

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