Recognizing local heroes

Northampton Township welcomes home Army Specialist Tyler Reichert, honors local Marine Corps

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

A special salute: Ivyland’s Tyler Reichert, an Army Specialist, was honored at a recent Northampton Township board of supervisors meeting for his safe return from overseas deployment. Present on Reichert’s behalf was his sister, Kaitlyn, and mother, Sue. Source: Pete Palestina

Since September 2018, things haven’t been quite right inside the Ivyland home of the Reichert family. Though daily routines of school and work continued to take place, there was something — or someone — missing from the cherished monotony, an empty seat at the kitchen table.

Tyler, the beloved son of Sue and older brother of Kaitlyn, was deployed from Fort Bragg in North Carolina to Kuwait and Iraq. For six long months, the thoughts of his loved ones strayed overseas, constantly worried about his wellbeing and safety in those hostile, combat environments.

But since March 5, Sue and Kaitlyn have been sleeping a little easier at night. Tyler, an Army Specialist who serves with the Army’s XVIII Airborne Corps, had safely returned to his base in Fort Bragg. While Tyler won’t return to Northampton until October, that’s perfectly OK with Sue, who is used to him being away for extended periods due to training. The only thing that matters is her son is safe.

On the evening of March 27, Sue and Kaitlyn were special guests at the Northampton Township board of supervisors meeting in Richboro, where a Welcome Home Flag Exchange ceremony took place in honor of Tyler.

The event was part of the Northampton Patriots Flag Program, which was introduced by the supervisors on April 23, 2003, as a way to honor local residents serving in harm’s way. According to program coordinator and former supervisor Pete Palestina, the board knew of 24 such residents back then. Today, due to the expansion of the program to include Afghanistan and other hostile areas, it knows of 88.

On Sept. 26, 2018, Sue and Kaitlyn had the bittersweet task of placing an Army flag emblazoned with Tyler’s name into a large, wooden display, located inside the municipal building at 55 Township Road. Here, it waited for its owner’s safe return to the states. During the March 27 meeting, the pair was gifted with Tyler’s Army flag, which was replaced in the display with an American one, also personalized with his name and branch of service.

Currently, out of the 89 flags, only one is armed services, representing Coast Guard Seaman Robert Hayes, who is still overseas in Bahrain, Persian Gulf.

Present at the ceremony was Verne Rider, veteran’s advocate for Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, and Nick Diasio, constituent outreach specialist for Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, both of whom presented the Reicherts with certificates of recognition. Also in attendance were members of the Northampton Township Volunteer Fire Company, which Tyler is a part of.

“First responders serve our community. The military serve our country, and he did both,” said fire chief Adam Selisker. “Not very many can do that. We can’t wait until he comes back. We need him.”

Chairman Barry Moore expressed his gratitude for Tyler’s service.

“It’s always a very emotional time when people go overseas. It’s so good to have him back,” Moore said to the Reicherts. “I just want you to know that the township, anything we can do to acclimate Tyler back to the area, we’re certainly happy to do that. We’re also very happy that we only have one flag left.”

Sue and Kaitlyn, holding fast to Tyler’s Army flag, were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from their community.

“I’m relieved. He’s finally home,” Sue said. “He’s definitely looking forward to being back at the end of October, back in a firetruck. Thank you all very much for coming out, this really means a lot.”

“I’m just very happy that my brother was able to come home safe from being in a dangerous area,” echoed Kaitlyn. “I can’t wait to be able to see him, and maybe have him come visit me when I’m at college.”

Palestina closed out the ceremony with a few chilling words.

“As has been documented so often nowadays, those that serve our country in the military are at risk whether they’re on U.S. soil or foreign soil, and their lives are put on the line each and every day,” he said. “Northampton and our country are proud of what our military are doing for the freedoms we enjoy here at home.”

After, the board of supervisors presented a certificate of recognition to the Marine Corps League Patriot Detachment 1230. Formed on Feb. 8, 2006 by a group of 27 local Marines, the group has contributed to the community in a variety of ways — helping young servicemen adapt to civilian life when they return from deployment; sending color guards to school events; attending funerals for deceased veterans; assisting in ceremonies for the Northampton Patriots Flag Program; and honoring Eagle Scouts.

Commandant Neil Clark Sr. Source: Pete Palestina

“Any type of activity that involves veterans and servicemembers, it’s really a privilege for us to honor and stand here with you,” Moore said. “I just want to say how proud we are of all the contributions you make to the residents of Northampton Township.”

Accepting the plaque on behalf of the Patriot Detachment was commandant Neil Clark Sr., who explained the motto of, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

“We in the Detachment remain always faithful to the Corps, each other, and especially to the community,” he said.

Palestina stressed that since many members of the Patriot Detachment are getting older, young Marines are encouraged to join. The group meets on the third Wednesday of each month at the Tri-Hampton Rescue Squad, 140 Township Road, Richboro.

Visit mclpatriotdetachment.com for more information. ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com