Contagious Kindness | North Bend Neighborhood, Volunteers Provide Special Homecoming for Marine on Leave from 11th Tour of Duty

The signs were everywhere when you entered the neighborhood; block after block of handmade thank you and welcome home signs…

Sometimes acts of kindness are contagious. That seems to be the case in the Riverbend neighborhood of North Bend, where volunteers and neighbors came together over the weekend with a simple goal of providing a memorable homecoming for Marine CPL Sean Koehnan – and little help and support for his family that keeps it all together while he serves tour after tour in the Iraq region.

It started when neighbor and contractor, Jason Mark, learned CPL Koehnan was coming home on leave from his 11th (yes, 11th) military tour in Iraq. Jason decided a simple way to help (and serve) was to do some yard work on the Koehnan residence – spruce it up for dad’s arrival home on Monday, November 17th.

Jason sent out an email to his church congregation and a few neighbors, and to his delight, several volunteers turned out ready to do some yard work at 7AM on a Saturday – in 24 degree weather.

His wife Rachel was so moved by those who showed up to help that she posted a few photos of the volunteers on the Riverbend neighborhood Facebook page. Those photos sparked lots of chatter and planning from neighbors who also wanted to help welcome CPL Koehnan home.

Volunteers turned out at 7AM, Saturday, 11/15/14, to work on the Koehnan’s North Bend home. Photo: Rachel Mark
Neighbors Deck out Riverbend

Some neighbors then made it to Michael’s and the sign making and neighborhood decorating began. Even Koehnan’s son’s Boy Scout Troop got into the act. Flags and bows and signs were placed all along the route to Koehnan’s Riverbend home.

According to neighbors, CPL Koehnan will get to spend about a month home in the Snoqualmie Valley with his wife Patti and two young sons. The couple both grew up in the Valley. One neighbor described Patti as “a great trooper, keeping things going on the home front and supporting him.”

All it took was an idea, as a way to say thank you; a little bit of social media; a lot of neighbors; and a huge amount of kindness for a family and a man who has spent most of the last decade away from home, serving in a war-torn region of the world.

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