NAUGATUCK — Sgt. Michael Beers, a military policeman with the National Guard, left the borough almost exactly a year ago for his first deployment to Afghanistan.
Post 1946 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, based on Rubber Avenue, held a pig roast then as a sendoff for Beers and seven others from the borough who were being deployed. Now Beers and one other soldier have returned, and the VFW is holding another roast.
This time, the event will raise money so the families of all the returning soldiers can pay for nice dinners or other celebrations.
“For us it just feels good, knowing that they really do care and they really do appreciate everything we’ve done,” said Beers, 25, who lives on Hillside Avenue. “I get to come home and feel welcomed home.”
The roast will be held August 10 at Post 1946, 239 Rubber Ave., from 12 to 5 p.m.
Beers’s mother, 55-year-old Joanne Phinney, is organizing the roast with Dolly Lengyel, owner of the Personal Pampering salon on Church Street. Phinney tends bar at the VFW post and is secretary and treasurer of the ladies’ auxiliary.
“I think the send-off was to wish them all godspeed, but this should be something to celebrate all of their safe return,” Phinney said. “We figured we’d do another pig roast because everyone had a good time.”
Phinney said she did not expect any of the other six soldiers to return before the event, but with any luck, their families will come away with enough money to prepare for their homecomings.
The event will feature a cash bar and raffles. In addition to the pig, burgers, salads, side dishes, snacks, soda and water will be served. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for ages 16 to 20 and children 15 years old and under are free. Tickets are available at the Post.
Since the last pig roast a year ago, Beers said he has gained experience.
“You learn a lot of things and it was definitely nice to see a different part of the world,” Beers said.
Beers said he was stationed in Ghazni province in the eastern part of the country with his company, which is based out of West Hartford. Combat was the norm, Beers said.
Since his return, Beers has worked a day job as an assistant at the West Hartford facility.
“It’s nice it’s a change of pace, something to get used to again,” Beers said. “It’s much slower here at home.”
Beers and the other borough soldiers are returning without physical injury, Phinney said.
The fundraiser is not just for military personnel from the borough, she added.
“We are telling anybody who has just come back to just come,” Phinney said.