Preparing for Soldier Return

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

Hundreds of Kentucky soldiers are making their way home after serving a year in Afghanistan. The 201st Engineering Battalion will be home tomorrow, and many families spent the day preparing for their big homecoming.

Specialist Bobby Napier will come home to Christmas at his home in Vicco. Napier's wife, Norma, says she wants to give her husband the things he missed during his deployment. She says, "That's probably been the hardest, trying to do it on our own, by ourself. And try to not let them see us cry and not let them know that it's bothering us and try to stay strong for them."

Streets in Vicco are lined with yellow ribbons and signs for Napier and Specialist Kirby Brown. Brown's mother, Vanessa, says this day could not come fast enough. She says, "Words can't describe it, it's unreal, you'll finely be able to take a deep breath. I just want to hug him and see his face, just feel his face and know that he's really here."

Brown's daughter, Kayleigh, is ready to see her father, and Napier's daughter says it was a long wait. Nine year old Shanda Napier says, "I'm really proud of him for being over there and just for being safe."

"It's important, I realize that, but it's hard when it's yours that's the one over there doing it," says Brown.

"People come up and ask about him and I'll tell them where he's at and what he's been doing, and just the gratitude that people show. We've had a lot of support," says Norma Napier.

Both families hope this is the last deployment for these soldiers, but say they will support them no matter what happens. The 400 soldiers with the 201st Engineering Battalion are expected to arrive at Boyd County Middle School late Thursday afternoon.

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