Shelter Island welcomed home Friday night what one woman described as adopted family members of the community, the troop of Shelter Island’s own Lt. Joseph Thienert, who was killed in Afghanistan two years ago while warning his fellow Bravo troop members of a roadside bomb.
“We consider them family,” fundraising coordinator for the Joseph Theinert Memorial Foundation Shelley Clark-Rohde said of the troop. “The boys and men have changed. Some have gone on to new duty stations, some have remained, but Bravo troop will always be Joe’s troop and he will always be our friend and a member of our family.”
Arriving on Shelter Island by way of the Lt. Joe Theinert ferry at South Ferry at about 9 p.m., Bravo troop was warmly welcomed with cheers and waving American flags as its members made their way down the Lt. Joe Theinert Memorial Highway to the American Legion Hall, escorted by police and fire department vehicles and the motorcycle group, the Patriot Guard Riders.
The public was urged to be on hand when the troop — formally known as Bravo Troop 1/71Cavalry, 1BCT, 10th Mountain Division — arrived Friday. The came at the invitation of Islander Chrystyna Kestler, Joe Theinert’s mother.
About 22 members of the troop were expected here. They were escorted the entire trip from Ft. Drum, New York to Shelter Island by Frankie Bania and The Patriot Guard Riders. The Shelter Island Police Department and Fire Department and a small crowd of flag-waving Islanders were on hand for their arrival.
Islander Matt Rohde, a veteran of the First Cavalry Division, helped to organize the visit. It was the first visit here for most members of the troop. Some took part in the first visit to the troop to the Island last May in honor of their fallen colleague and his family and friends.
Bravo Troop has been given VIP treatment while they are visiting Shelter Island.
Their visit will conclude Monday with a fund-raising cruise from Greenport that Mr. Rohde said was “pretty much sold out” and a dinner at Claudios Clam Bar in Greenport starting at about 6:30 to 7 p.m. Both events a fund-raiser for the Joe Theinert Foundation.
Those with questions may call Mr. Rohde at (631) 276-9882.