National Guard Soldiers Return Home

Dec 9, 2011 7:49 PM

These service members started their journey home nearly two-weeks ago, but the long trip home was all worth it.. As they ran into the arms of loved ones waiting to welcome them home.

Cottonwood Residents, Linda and Bill Bullington say, "Very excited. Very emotional." The Holland Family says, "Very good. Happy our dad is coming home."

Hugs, kisses, tears, and laughter filled the air, as family and friends gathered at the Chico National Guard Armory Friday afternoon, to welcome loved ones home, from their service in Afghanistan. "Today's my birthday. It's the best birthday present I've ever had," says Terry Davis, mother of soldier coming home. Her son Adam says, "I'm just happy to be back. It feels good! It's a relief."

Roughly 75 service members of the California National Guard's 649th engineer company, returned to their homes in northern California. During their year-long deployment, the soldiers rebuilt roads; locating explosive devises, improving main routes, and enhancing security for local villagers. With their hard work, organizers say they deserve the warm welcome.Staff Sgt. Nelson Gonzalez says, "They go away for a year and they struggle through.. Everything they have to go through and it's just a good feeling to come back and be welcomed."

And after being away for exactly 371 days, all say it's incredible to be back. "It's awesome!" Staff Sgt. Chad Holland says, "Excellent! It's very good being home." Gonzalez says, "Absolutely amazing. Absolutely amazing."

And their family members equally agree. The Hollands say, "Home is good. Home is real good." "What a good thing he's doing for his country. What a sacrifice he's making.. Being away from his family," Bullington says. Davis says, "I'm just so proud of my son. Just so proud."

There will be another group of about 150 service members arriving in Chico again on Monday.


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