If Independence Day rekindled your sense of patriotic duty, we recommend you get in touch with the Pease Greeters, an organization that has welcomed 1,750 troop flights since its founding in 2005.

Based at Portsmouth International Airport, the Greeters have been honored by presidents and the Pentagon, achieved national renown and have the gratitude from troops far and wide. They also have earned the deepest respect and appreciation for their work from citizens right here at home on the Seacoast.

It’s not just that the Greeters provide necessities such as toiletries, snacks, mobile phone chargers, coffee, water, etc., they also provide what our troops value most as they pass through Portsmouth on their way to or from an overseas deployment. The Pease Greeters beautifully express to the troops our nation’s deep gratitude for their service.

We are always thrilled to receive letters from servicemen and women who passed through Pease, or their families who heard about their positive experience, relating how no other community in the nation shows them the appreciation, respect and gratitude they receive as they pass through our local airport.

“We invite people come stand shoulder to shoulder with other patriotic Americans,” said Pease Greeters Chairman Frank Lasorsa. “People don’t always think about it but we are still at war and we are still losing people in combat.”

“We have been recognized by the Pentagon for the positive impact we have on the morale of the troops,” Lasorsa said.

Following the lockdown at the New Hampshire Air National Guard on Tuesday, for what turned out to be unfounded reports of shots fired at the base, the Greeters sent out a note that expressed concern that their ability to welcome troops might be impacted.

A quick call to the airport Wednesday morning, however, brought relief as Paul Breen assured that Portsmouth International Airport, which provides space and a welcoming environment for the Greeters completely free of charge, remains thoroughly committed to the patriotic program.

“We continuously work with the Greeters and all security stakeholders,” Breen said. “We think it’s a great service to the troops.”

Breen notes the airport has gotten much busier than it was in 2005 when the Pease Greeters basically had the run of the place. Now there are commercial flights from Allegiant and Frontier, charter flights in addition to the commercial troop transport flights. Additional activity has brought an increased presence of the TSA, customs and other federal security agencies that get a say in how the airport operates. The airport has also recently launched a major expansion and renovation of its passenger waiting area, additional TSA checkpoints, a state of the art baggage screening area and an additional jet bridge and gate, Breen said. Next spring will see a multimillion dollar upgrade of the runway.

The bottom line, however, is that the airport remains committed to the Greeters and the troops and we urge community members to share in that commitment by supporting the Greeters, both in person and through donations. If you greet a flight with the Pease Greeters, the value of what they do will be immediately evident to you.

To learn more about Pease Greeters you can go to their Facebook page, or visit peasegreeters.org. You can also reach them by email at pease.greeters@hotmail.com

Donations for the Pease Greeters can be sent to: P.O. Box 22311, Portsmouth, NH 03802-2311.