Inspiration for Port Townsend-area campaign for Iraqi children back from war front

PORT TOWNSEND — It was a reunion Wednesday for an effort that spanned halfway around the world.

Chris Loverro, the Army Reserve staff sergeant whose chance meeting with a Port Townsend woman led to community-wide support for humanitarian aide programs in Iraq, is back in the United States.

En route to his California home, Loverro stopped in Port Townsend to reunite with Carrie Pierce — and personally remove the yellow ribbons tied around her apple tree.

“I’m feel very relieved, very thankful,” Pierce said. “Chris is a very special person.”

Pierce met Loverro and Jason Gamble in a Seattle restaurant last November on the night before the soldiers were shipping out to Iraq with the Fort Lewis Stryker Brigade.

Wanting to thank them for their service, she went up to their table and introduced herself.

They exchanged e-mail addresses, and in February, when Loverro asked her to help collect blankets and warm clothing for Iraqi refugees, she mobilized the North Olympic Peninsula community.

Two yellow ribbons

She also placed two yellow ribbons on the apple tree in her Port Townsend front yard.

Two weeks ago, she learned that both men returned safely. On Wednesday, Loverro — on his way to pick up his car and drive to his home in Oakland, Calif. — made a quick stop in Port Townsend to see Pierce and remove the yellow ribbons.

“You don’t know how many times after a high wind I’ve come out here and put them back on the tree,” Pierce told Loverro as he removed the ribbons.

“When the news was bad, I’d come out and touch them and say a little prayer.”

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