Who do you know

We are looking for military personal who are overseas and from Citrus County Florida.

Our mission is to welcome home all Citrus County Veterans when they return from deployment.

If you have family friends or neighbors currently serving in the global war on terror p;ease let us know so that we make sure they get a Welcome Home they deserve. Please contact us here.

Home Depot, Operation Welcome Home

  • By Gwen Bittner, For the Chronicle

AMBER SIGMAN/For the Chronicle

Paul Garrecht Jr., his mother Annamae Garrecht, 79, a disabled private first class with the U.S. Army, and his father Paul Garrecht, 70, arrive at their home in Inverness on Friday afternoon. The home is being renovated through a cooperative effort between local veterans organization Operation Welcome Home and The Home Depot in Crystal River.

View the photo gallery here. 

Nearly 20 volunteers worked tirelessly Friday to restore the home of Inverness resident and wheelchair-bound veteran Annamae Garrecht.

Garrecht, 79, got the makeover after a home health aide posted about the need on Facebook page Citrus People Helping People.

Renovation efforts for the former U.S. Army private first class were nearly complete by the afternoon, and were made possible by a partnership between Operation Welcome Home and Home Depot.

Barb (Mills) from Operation Welcome Home found her on Citrus People Helping People on Facebook. It’s her family that needed help, Home Depot Assistant Manager and Team Depot Capow she came into contact with thetain Julie Shutt said.

Their home health nurse reached out and said I need help with this house, Mills said. So I came out here and then I called Julie and said, What can Home Depot do? so that’s what started all this.

Team Depot assessed Annamae’s house in September. Shortly thereafter, Mills and Shutt applied for Home Depot Foundation grants together to get the project started.

Team Depot is a volunteer-led force to help with primary veteran projects, and we come out and we volunteer our time, Shutt said.

We’re in conjunction with Home Depot, Mills said. Home Depot gives us the grant and then Home Depot comes out and does this.

This particular project was a $5,000 project that was granted from our Home Depot Foundation. That comes in the form of a store credit, and we’ve purchased that much in material to help the family out, Shutt said.

Home Depot associates and Citrus County Sheriff’s Office deputies, dispatchers and firefighters volunteered long hours Thursday and Friday to give the home a fresh look.

Volunteers painted interior and exterior walls, installed new fixtures and cleared out the overgrown yard. Three Home Depot associates donated personal time to lay commercial-grade vinyl flooring in December.

We’ve had a lot of other donations, Mills said. Advanced Disposal brought out a big dumpster for us to put all our stuff in, Citrus Pest Control came in and did a pre-treat on the house for bugs.

Fire Rescue volunteers suggested the team further reach out for community donations after seeing the state of the home that Garrecht, her husband Paul and son Paul Jr. Live in.

They made the suggestion: Why don’t we call and see if we can get somebody to donate mattresses? Shutt said.

Furniture Palace responded and donated box springs, mattresses, frames, and a dresser to the family.

It’s fantastic, Annamae said. We’ve been just through all of it.

Garrecht’s house was the second collaborative project Mills and Shutt have worked on to benefit local veterans.

We’re allowed to do it once a year and I’m looking forward to next year, Mills said. The teamwork here is just fantastic.

Mills and Shutt are still soliciting donation of a hospital bed mattress for Garrecht. Anyone able to donate is asked to call Mills at 352-422-6236.


  • Operation Welcome Home Veterans is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring Citrus County military personnel after serving in the War on Terrorism.
  • The group is also involved with the Honor Flight program supporting World War II veterans wishing to visit their Memorial in Washington.
  • The newest venture is honoring Vietnam War Veterans, their families and former POWs in partnership with Washington’s Commemoration of the Vietnam War program.
  • According it tis website, Operation Welcome Home Veterans is the only 501c(3) nonprofit organization of this type in America and 100 percent of funds support our veterans.
  • To donate or for more information about the group, call Barbara Mills at 352-422-6236.
  • The website, listed below, also has links to local groups and resources.


Welcome home Dec. 9th

topleft1Hello to All:
I hope everyone had a Great Thanksgiving…….
We have an Airman just back from Afghanistan.
T Sgt Steven Graff US Air Force from Homosassa
Graduated from Lecanto in 2000
Assigned to the 367th flight squadron in Homestead Fla
Married to Molly Graff with one daughter 7yrs old and one on the way
Still active duty, 14 yrs, non commissioned officer in charge of the Egress section


S Sgt Eddie Eisner USMC

Graduated Citrus High school in 2000, and has been to Iraq and Afghanistan several times. Details to follow
Currently lives in Citrus Springs with wife Kim Eisner
The Welcome Home will be Friday the 9th of Dec at the American Legion post #155 in Crystal River. Dinner will be at 5PM. Fish, fries and Cole slaw. Program at 6PM 
I hope to see you all there


Daddy’s Poem

Her hair was up in a pony tail,

her favorite dress tied with a bow.

Today was Daddy’s Day at school,

and she couldn’t wait to go.


But her mommy tried to tell her,

that she probably should stay home

The kids might not understand,

if she went to school alone.


But she was not afraid;

she knew just what to say.

What to tell her classmates

of why he wasn’t there today.


But still her mother worried,

for her to face this day alone.

And that was why once again,

she tried to keep her daughter home.


But the little girl went to school

eager to tell them all.

About a dad she never sees

a dad who never calls.


There were daddies along the wall in back,

for everyone to meet.

Children squirming impatiently,

anxious in their seats.


One by one the teacher called

a student from the class.

To introduce their daddy,

as seconds slowly passed.


At last the teacher called her name,

every child turned to stare.

Each of them was searching,

a man who wasn’t there.


“Where’s her daddy at?”

She heard a boy call out.

“She probably doesn’t have one,”

another student dared to shout.


And from somewhere near the back,

she heard a daddy say,

“Looks like another deadbeat dad,

too busy to waste his day.”


The words did not offend her,

as she smiled up at her Mom.

And looked back at her teacher,

who told her to go on.


And with her hands behind her back,

slowly she began to speak.

And out from the mouth of a child,

came words incredibly unique.


“My Daddy couldn’t be here,

because he lives so far away.

But I know he wishes he could be,

since this is such a special day.


And though you cannot meet him,

I wanted you to know.

All about my daddy,

and how much he loves me so.


He loved to tell me stories

he taught me to ride my bike.

He surprised me with pink roses,

and taught me to fly a kite.


We used to share fudge sundaes,

and ice cream in a cone.

And though you cannot see him.

I’m not standing here alone.


“Cause my daddy’s always with me,

even though we are apart.

I know because he told me,

he’ll forever be in my heart”


With that, her little hand reached up,

and lay across her chest.

Feeling her own heartbeat,

beneath her favorite dress.


And from somewhere within the crowd of dads,

her mother stood in tears.

Proudly watching her daughter,

who was wise beyond her years.


For she stood up for the love

of a man not in her life.

Doing what was best for her,

doing what was a right.


And when she dropped her hand back down,

staring straight into the crowd.

She finished with a voice so soft,

but its message clear and loud.


“I love my daddy very much,

he’s my shining star.

And if he could, he’d be here,

but heaven’s just too far.


You see he is an American Soldier

and died just this past year.

When a roadside bomb hit his convoy

and taught Americans to fear.


But sometimes when I close my eyes,

it’s like he never went away.

And then she closed her eyes,

and saw him there that day.


And to her mother’s amazement,

she witnessed with surprise.

A room full of daddies and children,

all starting to close their eyes.


Who knows what they saw before them,

who knows what they felt inside.

Perhaps for merely a second,

they saw him at her side.


“I know you’re with me Daddy,”

to the silence she called out.

And what happened next made believers,

of those once filled with doubt.


Not one in that room could explain it,

for each of their eyes had been closed.

But there on the desk beside her,

was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.


And a child was blessed, if only for a moment,

by the love of her shining star.

And given the gift of believing,

that heaven is never too far.


Welcome Home

Mark your calendars for Friday July 1st at the American Legion Post 155Dinner at 5PM (French Dip & Fries for $6.00) Program at 6PM

A Welcome Home for :CTT1 Harry C. Hall
CTT1 Harry C. Hall US NAVY
RANK: CTT1/E-6                        
USS Lincoln:  GALE -Lite Operator in support of Strike Operations (Electronic Intelligence collections and reporting)
USS Reagan:  Cryptologic Analytical Support Element (Historical trend analysis and fusion of multi-source Signals Intelligence)
Wife’s name Fancie Hall
Cpl Kenneth Arnold US MARINECpl Kenneth Arnold
UNIT OF ASSIGNMENT: First Battallion Sixth Marines
JOB ASSIGNMENT: 0351 Infantry Assaultman
Wife’s name: Lauren Arnold
Hope to see you all there