WESTPORT, Conn. – A framed U.S. Marine Corps flag was presented to the Westport Police Department Wednesday as a thank you gift for sending care packages to a group of Marines who served overseas last year.
Westport Police Officer Michael Ruttenber, who’s also a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve, was deployed to Afghanistan last May . There, the Norwalk resident served seven months with the Marines of 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, Bravo Company conducting reconnaissance and security patrols throughout the Sangin Valley.
During Ruttenber’s deployment, members of the Westport Police Department collected canned goods, snacks and personal hygiene items to send to Ruttenberg and the other Marines of Bravo Company.
“It meant the world to me,” said Ruttenber, who joined the police department in February 2010.
This was Ruttenber’s second tour in Afghanistan. The nine-year Marine was first deployed to Afghanistan in 2004. In 2006, he was deployed to Iraq.
Westport Police Public Safety Officer Christopher Proudfoot, a former Marine, organized the care package initiative.
Due to a shipping error, Ruttenber said all the care packages—at least two dozen— arrived all at once. However, he said the error worked in the company’s favor, as they were running low on food and water when the packages came in.
“It was pretty much what we lived off of for a month,” Ruttenber said of the food and water sent in the care packages. There was enough food and water sent to feed the 40-plus members in his company, he added.
As a token of gratitude, the Marines of Bravo Company signed a Marine Corps flag. Ruttenberg presented the flag to Westport Police Chief Dale Call Wednesday during a brief ceremony.
“We wish he could have done more than the flag, but it’s our way of saying thank you,” Ruttenber said.
The Westport Police Benevolent Association, the Westport Police Union, and Frame and Save in Norwalk provided funding for the flag to be framed.
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