By DUANE NOLLEN
The Oskaloosa Herald
UNIVERSITY PARK —
University Park Mayor George Toubekis retuned home Saturday after a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
“I’m glad to be home,” Toubekis said Sunday.
Toubekis served with the 1034th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion from Camp Dodge. Toubekis’ unit left on Aug. 28, 2012, and returned Saturday.
“We left Afghanistan on the Fourth of July,” he said.
Toubekis said his unit stopped in Kyrgyzstan, a former-Soviet republic in Central Asia, before arriving at Fort Hood, Texas. They traveled from Fort Hood back to Iowa.
Toubekis said he felt “relief when I got back to Iowa and anxious to see the family. This was my first time overseas.”
In 2003, Toubekis said he was with the Oskaloosa-based 3654th Maintenance Co. and his section of the unit deployed to Camp Roberts, California, while other members of the unit were sent overseas.
When Toubekis returned home, he had a colorful drive through University Park thanks to a friend on the University Park City Council.
City Council member Ben Doak wanted to do something special yet low-key for Toubekis’ return. He placed four dozen small American flags along Ninth Avenue East and Bethel Street.
Doak said Fred Bridges and the American Legion provided the flags for Toubekis’ return.
“We just wanted to keep it simple,” he said.
“It was very humbling to come home with all the flags,” Toubekis said. “It was very much appreciated.”
While in Afghanistan, Toubekis was able to keep up with University Park city business.
“It wasn’t bad. It was hard to do since I wasn’t on the ground here. But I had an excellent council here,” he said.
Doak said he had been keeping in touch with Toubekis while he was serving in Afghanistan. They would message back and forth on the Internet about University Park city business, he said.
“He’s a good friend,” Doak said of Toubekis. “He’s a good guy. It’s hard to find guys like that.”
Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at email@example.com