Hundreds of veterans, supporters attend Freedom Isn`t Free cerem - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Hundreds of veterans, supporters attend Freedom Isn`t Free ceremony

More than 2,000 flags surrounded Crossroads Church in Newburgh Saturday morning for the 'Freedom Isn't Free' ceremony.

Hundreds of veterans and supporters came out to pay tribute to those who have served. Organizers wanted to honor veterans and make services available to help, all in one place.

Point Man Ministries is a national Veterans Helping Veterans organization. Their goal is to help veterans heal and transition when returning home from war. They say between 20% and 30% percent have transition issues.

Organizers say this year the event was unique. 

"We really wanted to reach the Afghan and Iraq vets who are troubled," said Dan Oates with Point Man Newburgh. 

Private Military Contractor Ryan Hebner says he came to explore what some of the veterans services had to offer and to learn how he could continue to serve his community. He signed up to be a volunteer with a veteran's hospice program. 

"Go a visit with them and give them their last honors military honors in their final hours and I think that's an awesome thing. I want to be part of that," Ryan said.

But the day quickly became particularly emotional for Ryan. His brother, Kyle, flew home this morning after being stationed in Iran for the past month to surprise Ryan and his family.  

"I was pretty shocked. I wasn't too surprised because my family kind of operates like that. We've always been kind of secretive. That's how we're good at what we do," Ryan said.

The Hebners say they've been planning a family party to celebrate Veteran's Day and are happy to have their veteran home to enjoy it. 

"We have a mandatory family gathering," Ryan said.

Ryan says his brother, Kyle, was going to signup as well to continue the family tradition to serve others. 

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