Neighborhood pitches in to help Iowa soldier during deployment - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Neighborhood pitches in to help Iowa soldier during deployment

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JOHNSTON (KWWL) -

120 Iowa National Guard members are back home with their families after a 9 month deployment to Afghanistan. For one Iowa soldier, that "family" now includes dozens more people. One neighborhood made sure day-to-day chores didn't add to an already stressful year apart.

It's been a full year for Kristina Stanger and her two young girls with one pretty major piece missing - their dad has been gone overseas. Kristina and Doug are both members of the Iowa National Guard. Both say they know what they signed up for.

"This is our third overseas mission, first time with kids so that's a little bit different," said Kristina Stanger.

Kristina never really asked for any help. She didn't have to.

"If one person couldn't mow the grass for a week someone else would be like I can do it. And at one point on a snowy day there were three guys almost fighting over who was going to get to do it," said neighbor Julia Roegiers.

The entire neighborhood took on role of caring for the Stangers while Doug was overseas.

"With no questions asked with smiles on there face and even when I didn't ask they would just show up and help," said Kristina Stanger.

Along with yard work, they delivered home cooked meals, and even came over at 2 in the morning when Olivia got sick. The entire time Doug's unit flag hung in a neighbor's yard...a reminder of who they were there to support.

"I just want him to understand we support him and think about him while he's gone, and this was the way I could do it," said neighbor Jeff Cosner.

"We are so grateful for what they are doing and this is what we needed to do to support them," said Julia Roegiers.

So it was only natural for this entire family to pack up the caravan to welcome Doug home. Doug says it's never easy to leave your family.. but knowing they were in good hands did help a lot.

"It's like the saying takes a village to raise a child and our village, our neighborhood is pretty amazing," said SSG Doug Stanger.

The soldier they all worked to support is home they year-long deployment is over...but the bond this community created isn't going anywhere.

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