Updated 12/23/2012 11:40 AM
Welcome home ceremony for returning soldiers
Christmas came early for many families on Fort Drum. After many months overseas, soldiers of the 110th Transportation Company returned home from Afghanistan. YNN's Carmella Mataloni tells us how community members welcomed home their troops.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
FORT DRUM, N.Y.--They have been deployed for almost a year.
"My son," said Sharon Heyward, who drove from Florida.
For Fort Drum resident Calista Davault, "My husband's coming home."
For Rachel Simons of Florida, “My older brother."
Tears and cheers echoed through the Monti Fitness Center as family members unwrapped the ultimate Christmas present: Welcoming home their loved ones just in time for the holidays.
"They went to do a job and they did it well done. I'm so proud of my son and all the troops," said Heyward.
Fort Drum resident Calista Davault says that this is the most important day ever, as her newborn son, Liam, will be meeting his dad for the first time.
"They deserve to be appreciated for all that they do. I am forever indebted to the military," said Davault.
Many people attended the ceremony from out of state to ensure they were in the stands to support their troop.
The Simons family drove overnight from Florida to make sure their brother, Jimmy, knew they were so happy to see him home.
"We haven't got to see him in over a year. He's going to get to see his new baby in a couple of weeks and it's just really exciting. We're really glad that he is home safe," said Simons.
Welcome home signs were posted all over the gym. Soldiers say that the welcoming home response was overwhelming.
"It feels pretty good. I get to see family and a lot of support from the USO and family back at home, so I'm feeling pretty good," said Specialist Rodney Whitmore of the 110th Transportation Company.
"It's fantastic! Especially this close to Christmas. Soldiers can be home with their family and have a nice Christmas meal. It's great," said Commander Garrett Ruud of the 110th Transportation Company.
"To see those loved ones ready to hug their spouses and loved ones. It makes it all worth coming home," said First Sgt. Osvaldo Martinuz of the 110th Transportation Company.
Military families say that this is the best Christmas present they could ask for.