After spending months away from home, 2 ETX soldiers return home
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
Two East Texas soldiers are reunited with their families after spending months away from home. Those soldiers landed at Tyler Pounds Airport on Saturday, and celebration filled with tears, cheers, and hugs ensued. The crowd was a complete surprise for Army Specialist Jacquelyn Richardson, who spent the past 9 months in Afghanistan.
"The homecoming was very intense. I was not expecting it. I should have been, but I was not," said Jacquelyn.
Devin Matthews, who was in Washington for the last 6 months as a Navy Missile Technician, only expected his mom.
"I just expected my mom to be here, and then I saw all these people with flags, and I came walking up. Then they said it was for me," said Devin.
For their families, the wait was long.
"It just seemed forever. We thought he missed the plane," said Mary Zoellmer, Devin's grandmother.
"We were very excited to see him, and we're very proud of him," said Diana Massey, Devin's mother.
It was their absence that was tough.
"I thought about her everyday. I'm so proud of her. She's always made me proud. She's always been a special girl," said Dianna Rowell. "To have her away from us for so long was just horrible."
"I don't like it. I don't like to be away from my family, and I'm sure he doesn't either," said Mary.
"You can't just reach out, and give them a hug. You can talk to him all you want, but it's not the same as reaching out, and giving him a hug, and telling him you love him," said Diana.
Both families agree this moment was worth the wait.
"It's like she has been born all over again, and she's back in my life," said Candace Richardson, Jacquelyn's mother. "I get to hug, and touch her, and spend time with her that I've missed. It's been worth it because this has made her into such an amazing person."
After months of deployment, what do these soldiers looks forward to?
"I look forward to broccoli," said Jacquelyn.
"I look forward to sleeping in more, and not going to work," said Devin.
Jacquelyn says she'll be home for a while and is looking into becoming a pilot, but also wants to finish school with a major in psychology.
Devin says he leaves for Washington again next week.