WOODSTOCK – Marine Cpl. Nathaniel Lieb remembers the “good-size” package that arrived sometime in the spring of 2009, just a few months into his tour of duty in Al Asad, Iraq.
“My name was on it,” said Lieb, of Wonder Lake.
Packed inside were two dozen boxes of cookies sent from the Girl Scouts of Crystal Lake Troop 976.
“It always brightens up the day when you get Girl Scout cookies,” he said.
The 23-year-old will have served four years in the military by the end of this year.
After his first seven-month tour in Iraq, Lieb was sent on his second tour on board the USS Comstock.
Lieb had the chance to greet and thank the girls for their support this weekend. His family and organizers of Lieb’s homecoming party invited the scouts to be a part of the
On Sunday, the Warriors’ Watch Riders escorted Lieb from his mother’s Wonder Lake home to the Woodstock Square, where the Girl Scout troop gathered. Lieb said he wanted to express his appreciation to the girls, who collected donations and gathered hundreds of boxes of cookies.
“To be honest, I just wanted to thank them,” he said. “It helped the morale out there.”
On the Woodstock Square, the girls shook hands with Lieb, who also handed out Marine Corps pins for them to wear on their Girl Scout sashes.
“He was so warm and friendly and really nice and kind of funny. And he fought for our country,” said Clare Ryan, 9, of Crystal Lake.
Olivia Hoirup, of Crystal Lake, turned 10 on Sunday, and Lieb’s homecoming made the day extra special. Being a part of Lieb’s armor guard was a priority for the birthday girl because “it’s important to say we appreciate everything they do for our country and to show love from people who care.”
“It’s good that he’s back home safely,” said Hoirup, whose grandfather who fought in World War II.
The troop sent “quite a few” boxes, more than enough for Lieb to share with the fellow Marines in his battalion. Among his favorite cookies is the Samoa, made with chocolate, caramel and coconut.
“Those are the ones I’d keep to myself,” he said.
His friends and family, including his mother, Ruth Ann, and two older sisters, capped off the welcome home festivities at the Woodstock VFW Post for cake and refreshments. Lieb, who was homeschooled through high school with a group in Fox Lake, is on terminal leave. His active duty status ends on Christmas and he said he does not plan to re-enlist.