Hurricane Sandy delays soldier’s homecoming 8 hours

By From page A1 | October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy has put a kink in the welcome home for Army Spc. Charles “Douglas” Harris.

Harris, a 2008 Union Mine High School graduate, was wounded by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan at the end of May. He lost both legs and has been recovering at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. He is home, on leave, for one month before returning to Maryland to complete his rehabilitation.

Originally scheduled to arrive at Sacramento International Airport at 11:10 a.m. on Oct. 31, Harris’ flight was canceled and he is now scheduled to arrive at the airport on American Airlines Flight 1827 at 7:10 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Harris will still be picked up in a Hummer limousine and driven up Highway 50 to the VFW Hall in Placerville, with a Patriot Rider and police escort, but the plans to man every overpass between Sacramento and Placerville with fire engine crews and people with banners and flags have been scrapped.

“It will be dark and the overpasses aren’t practical or safe after dark,” said Harlan Dains, VFW member and organizer of the welcome. “The overpass at Placerville Drive is well-lit, but it will be about 8:30 when the motorcade arrives there.”

A luncheon at the VFW Hall,130 Placerville Drive, planned for Oct. 31 has been rescheduled for Friday, Nov. 2 from 1-3 p.m. The public is welcome to attend and meet Harris. The spaghetti lunch is free of charge, but donations will be accepted and will go to help with Harris’ medical expenses.

Please stop by  the VFW Hall on Wednesday evening or at the luncheon on Friday and say hello to one of our returning heroes.

Wendy Schultz

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