Hailey planning hometown celebration for Bergdahl's return

Hailey planning hometown celebration for Bergdahl's return
Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl worked as a barista at Zaney's River Street Coffee House in this central Idaho resort town just south of the Sawtooth Mountains in Hailey, Idaho on Sunday July 19, 2009, before he enlisted in the Army in 2008. Outside, an American flag hangs from the eaves; along with a sign in the window showing support for Bergdahl. (AP Photo/David Seelig)

HAILEY, Idaho (AP) - The news of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release from captivity spread quickly Saturday in his hometown of Hailey in southern Idaho.

Residents immediately began making plans for a welcome home celebration.

An annual event called "Bring Bowe Back" scheduled for June 28 was quickly renamed "Bowe is Back."

The town of 7,000 residents has hung yellow ribbons and planted a tree in the city park each year since he was held.

Stefanie O'Neill, who has organized the annual "Bring Bowe Back" event, says the ribbons will stay up until Bergdahl is back home.

But she was happy to say a fifth tree won't need to be planted.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter issued a statement welcoming the news and expressing gratitude that prayers for Bergdahl's release were answered.