Cordele--A separate convoy rolled into Cordele this afternoon. Some anxious families spent several hours waiting for about fifty soldiers to arrive safely.
As the bus carrying troops from the 48th brigade rolls into Cordele, hundreds of south Georgians nervously await their arrival. Kimberly Persley has not seen her husband in more than a year. "It was very difficult, very difficult, but I'm glad he has returned now," she says.
Like most families out here, she's looking forward to spending quality time together. "Hopefully, we're going to go to Las Vegas? Orlando. Haha. Somewhere," she says.
From waving flags to welcome home posters, troops say they are overwhelmed by the amount of support they've received from the community.
"To see the whole town come out, it makes you feel good about what you did," says Michael Persley.
"I just didn't think there would be that many people. It was really heart-warming," says Specialist James Golden.
Golden is relieved to be home, no longer fighting in Iraq. "It was hell. I'm not going to lie to you. It sucked. But like a band of brothers we all pulled together," says Golden.
Nearby, Crisp County High School students ditched class to show the troops their appreciation.
"We can't explain how good it's been knowing that someone's there defending for us," says Tiffany Lynch.
Even those, not awaiting a loved one, like retired air force officer, Earl Hudson, show the troops their gratitude for their hard work overseas.
"It's the patriotic and the good thing to do, welcome them back," he says.
And show that their hard work fighting for our country's freedom has not been forgotten.
"I think they've done a great job. I appreciate it. and I love them," says Lillian Lewis.
In June, the Chamber of Commerce will host a dinner celebration for the returning troops at Crisp County High School. Members of the 48th Brigade will also serve as grand marshals in Cordele's Watermelon parade in July.