Branden Burley Comes ‘Home for the Holidays’

By Beacon Staff

In sub-zero temperatures Saturday night, Branden Burley arrived home. Branden’s parents submitted this winning letter in the Beacon’s “Home for the Holidays” promotion:

We’d like to bring our son, PFC. Branden Burley home for the holidays. Branden is stationed in Fort Drum, NY, with the 10th Mountain Division – US Army.

Unfortunately, the military often waits until the last minute to give the go-ahead on leave, which in turn leaves last-minute ticket purchases. Branden has just been given authorization to come home December 20th! Branden graduated from Columbia Falls High in 2007 and left for the Army two days later. Specializing in Infantry, Branden is still scheduled to go to Afghanistan in 2009. We are so proud of his commitment to our country (along with all of his fellow soldiers) and we would love to see him for the holidays. He missed all of the holidays with his family last year; the distance from Montana to New York makes it difficult. Thanks for your consideration!

Jerry Burley & Ronda Gress

While waiting for his arrival through winter weather delays, the family shared their gratitude to the Beacon and Flathead Travel for allowing Branden to spend the holidays at home. They are looking forward to having the entire family together before Branden is deployed to Afghanistan.

When Branden walked out of the security area at Glacier Park International Airport close to midnight, the family (and this Beacon staffer with her kids) was overcome with emotion at this touching reunion.

“It’s been a long day starting in Syracuse, then to Detroit where we heard he might not make it home until Monday,” Ronda said. “After he showed his military identification to airline personal, they pulled out all the stops to help bring Branden home. He made it to Minneapolis, then another stop in Fargo, and finally to Kalispell. Thank you so much, we are looking forward to spending time with our son.”

Enjoy the holiday season Burleys and welcome home Branden.