Wisconsinites stuck in Israel return home after several anxious days

As Wisconsinites made their way back home, the sounds of rockets and missiles in Israel were finally fading away after a week of constant exposure. The hustle and bustle of Chicago’s O’Hare airport was a refreshing change of pace and a welcome respite from the chaos they had experienced.

During the recent conflict in Israel, a church group from Kenosha and a man from Madison found themselves in the midst of the turmoil. However, after several days of uncertainty and concern, they were finally able to return home on Friday. Despite the challenging circumstances, they were grateful to be back in the safety and comfort of their own communities.

Scott Forester shared his emotional experience, saying, “As soon as I reached the gate, I sat down and tears started streaming down my face.”

According to Forester, who resides in Madison, WI, it was a daunting task to secure a flight back home after having faced multiple cancellations of his earlier bookings.

He reminisced about spending several hours at his laptop on Tuesday.

After searching for a while, he was able to secure a flight that would take him from Israel to Berlin, then to Washington, and eventually to Chicago.

Returning home was a bittersweet experience for him.

During his conversation with TMJ4’s Mariam Mackar, he expressed his gratitude for being present there but also shared that his heart was heavy and sad due to the people he had to leave behind.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to be here, knowing that there are those who have lost their lives, been wounded, or are still missing, along with their families who are left to grieve. My heart goes out to them, as I recognize that I am one of the lucky ones.”

It wasn’t just Forester who felt grateful to be back in the Midwest.

After spending 13-and-a-half hours on a flight from Jordan, 33 parishioners from St. Mary’s and St. Mark’s Catholic Churches in Kenosha arrived at their destination. They had to leave Israel quickly, and their journey was undoubtedly tiring.

Father Roman Stikel credits the power of prayer from people in Wisconsin for aiding them in overcoming the difficulties of their journey.

Father Stikel expressed his joy in returning home and mentioned the challenging journey they had from Bethlehem to Jordan. He acknowledged the support and prayers of the archdiocese, which he felt throughout the journey.

According to both travelers, the tension they felt during their time in Israel was unlike anything they had ever experienced before.

Father Strikel recounted their journey, saying that if they had stayed for another 8 hours, it would have been an incredibly challenging experience. However, upon reaching Jordan, they finally felt a sense of safety and relief. “If we would’ve stayed another 8 hours it would’ve been very difficult,” he shared.

According to Forester, there are various apps available to track rockets, similar to how weather can be tracked. However, as soon as he landed, he deleted the app as he did not wish to dwell on the matter any longer.

After a week of exhausting work, I finally made it back to the United States.

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