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Bellmawr Girl Scouts Assist With Operation Yellow Ribbon

Earlier today, Bellmawr Girl Scout Troops 30215 and 30082 in collaboration with Operation Yellow Ribbon of South Jersey, Warrior Watch Riders, the West Deptford and Thorofare Fire Departments participated in a Welcome Home Celebration for Sgt. Jena Clifford and Spc. James Simmermon at the West Deptford Riverwinds Community Center.

All photos provided. Warrior Watch Riders help to welcome home Sgt. Jena Clifford and Spc. James Simmermon.

The Girl Scouts coordinated efforts with Dave Silver of Operation Yellow Ribbon to plan the Welcome Home Celebration as a surprise for Sgt. Clifford and Spc. Simmermon, who were under the impression that they had been invited to Riverwinds to speak to the Girls Scouts about their military service.

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Dave Silver (far right) of Operation Yellow Ribbon of South Jersey addresses the assembled crowd for the Welcome Home Celebration.

While Sgt. Clifford and Spc. Simmermon were addressing the Girl Scouts, a motorcade pulled in that was led by the West Deptford and Thorofare Fire Departments and included the Warrior Watch Riders and members of Operation Yellow Ribbon. Gloucester County Freeholder Giuseppe (Joe) Chila presented both Sgt. Clifford and Spc. Simmermon with Proclamations honoring them for their service.

Spc. James Simmermon (left) and Sgt. Jena Clifford (right) speak to the Girl Scouts about their military service.

Girl Scout Olivia Allen, 10, felt it was important to be a part of welcoming the soldiers home. “We were able to learn about what it is like to serve overseas. Also, it was important to thank the soldiers for protecting our country,” she said.

Sgt. Jena Clifford (left) and Spc. James Simmermon with the Girl Scout Cookies to be donated to Operation Yellow Ribbon.

The Girl Scouts presented Sgt. Clifford and Spc. Simmermon with thank you cards of appreciation and the troops donated 16 cases of Girl Scout cookies to be included in care packages that will be sent overseas for active duty servicemen and women.

Of the Welcome Home Celebration, Sgt. Clifford posted on Facebook: “Words cannot begin to express how touched I am by this event today. Thank you so much to the men and women of Operation Yellow Ribbon and Warrior Watch Riders, as well as the Fire and Police department. I am truly humbled (once again) by this experience.”

Article updated at 10:45 p.m. to include a quote from Spc. Simmermon: “I was completely shocked! I am grateful to be a part of this awesome event today and also to hear all of those great and awesome words from everyone. It is wonderful to have these organizations and the support for those organizations – for the veterans and their families to know that they will always be there through the best and toughest times of their military career and life. We appreciate everything you guys have done and will do. This will always be a memorable day!”

*Article updated on April 4, 2016 to delete police and add Thorofare Fire Department.