December 17, 2003 - Posted at 1:35 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - An effort to raise $25,000 to help soldiers preparing for deployment to Iraq make a visit home for the holidays led to pledges of more than $60,000.
Governor Mike Huckabee made the announcement today.
Nick Bacon, a Vietnam veteran and director of the state Veterans Affairs Department, says the military has granted leave December 21 through January 2 to the 3,500 or so Arkansans with the National Guard's 39th Infantry Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas.
But some of the soldiers can't afford the trip home. Others, who plan to bring cars home to Arkansas, can't afford the fare back to Texas. The plan raised money to bus the soldiers to their destinations.
Huckabee says the excess money will be used to help support families of deployed soldiers.