South Ga. soldier welcomed home - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Ga. soldier welcomed home

October 13, 2004

Valdosta - In July, we told you the story of a South Georgia soldier in Iraq who sat in on his daughter's first birthday party through a satellite connection. Wednesday, that soldier was finally reunited with his family, after spending almost a year overseas.

It was a long overdue homecoming for Army Specialist Josh Strickland. For the first time in 10 months, he can hug his wife Dorothy, and kiss his one year old daughter, Shelby. "It's wonderful, it's great, I'm ecstatic!" said Josh.

A lot has changed since he left. "Shelby's a lot bigger, she's talking a lot more," said Josh. But it didn't take little Shelby long to warm up to the father she's missed for so long.

"It's hard to deal with everyday issues, but I try to keep in touch through emails and phone calls when I can," said Josh.

The family couldn't be happier to be back together, even though being near Dorothy could cause some problems. "I have strep throat!" said Dorothy.

But even a highly contagious sickness isn't enough to keep this couple from catching up on some much needed time together. "If I go back sick, I don't care," said Josh.

Unfortunately, Josh is only home on a break and will have to return to Iraq for three more months. "It's hard sometimes, but we get through it," said Dorothy.

So they'll fill the next two weeks with enough memories to keep this soldier going until he's home to stay.

posted at 3:20 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com