To the editor,

My name is Sergeant Darrell D. Butler. I have been a resident of Orangetown for 45 years and a member of the U.S. Army for over 20. Currently, I am a Senior Cable Analyst and Systems Team Chief in the New York Army National Guard assigned to the Peekskill Armory. This unit, combined with additional units from Orangeburg and Yonkers make up the 101st Expeditionary Signal Battalion (101st ESB). Presently, the 101st Battalion is deployed and serving in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Orangetown’s land area is just over 24 square miles and boasts a population of about 50,000 people – all who have their own personal issues and struggles. However, words cannot express how this community – the community I think of as my second family – took time out of their busy schedules, donated time and money, and banded together to provide the soldiers in the 101st unit with such an outpouring of love, support, and encouragement! The countless letters, care-packages and comfort items sent from my neighbors – known and unknown, have served to remind all of here in Afghanistan that we are not forgotten back home; and for this, I am most grateful. This is my first military deployment and the same can be said for many of the Soldiers in the 101st ESB Company, making separation from loved ones especially difficult to endure.

I have had the privilege of working alongside soldiers from all over the tri-state area and beyond. Although we are hundreds of miles away, the outpouring of love from Orangetown reminds me each day how blessed I am to be a husband, a proud father and (recently) a very lucky grandfather. I would be unable to take pride in the service and successful missions accomplished throughout Zabul and Kandahar Provinces of Afghanistan had I not been blessed with such a firm foundation of support in the community of friends and family I serve to protect. Your support lets me know that I have an extended Orangetown family that daily sends us their prayers and lets us know we are ever-present in their hearts and minds! I am doubly blessed to be able to share the outpouring of love from my hometown – Orangetown – with my fellow soldiers.

Once again, I want to express my deepest gratitude and sincere appreciation to the citizen’s of Orangetown and the kindness and support they have shown the Soldiers of 101st Expeditionary Signal Battalion, especially over this holiday season! You have brought home a little closer to all of our hearts and minds! The generous community of Orangetown has unquestionably helped to make our days brighter and our Holiday more cheerful!

On behalf of my family, my team of soldiers and all soldiers currently serving our country, I would like to offer a special thanks to: the Sparkill Fire Department; Station One Deli, town and local employees, especially the Orangetown Highway Dept; Town Councilman Paul Valentine; and the Lions Club. Finally, to all of my friends, family and the Orangetown community for all of your individual time, support, commitment and dedication. We are so over-whelmed and thankful for all you.

SGT Darrell D. Butler

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