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A Long Journey Ends at Home - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

A Long Journey Ends at Home

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A heartfelt embrace can go a long way toward restoring a feeling of normalcy. 30 members of the National Guard's 191st Military Police Company returned to North Dakota Friday, after nearly a year serving our country abroad.

 The soldiers provided security and support for the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo Bay.  Fridays return was an emotional reunion.

"It's been a long time." says Julie Jones with tears in her eyes. She's waiting for her son Buddy to return home.

Sergeant Buddy Wenisch has been gone for almost a year, 306 days to be exact, with very little communication.

"Through Facebook, Skype, one way or another we got to talk to him." says his wife Amanda as she anxiously waits by the airport gates.

Finally she and their two children are about to see him face-to-face, a moment they've been waiting for.

"I started telling him how many sleeps it would be, until daddy would be here and I think that really excited him, and I think it didn't really hit him til last night that today was the day." Amanda says fighting back tears.

As they wait, they can't help but get emotional. They've made signs saying 'welcome home', and 'I have been waiting 306 days to hug my daddy.'

All this is something Captain Lucas Klettke can relate to. He had returned from deployment a year ago and came Friday to show his support.

"To see your friends and your family there after being gone for a year sometimes it feels like your overwhelmed with joy." Captain Klettke says.

Finally, the wait was over, and as Sergeant Wenisch appeared in the doorway shouts erupted.

"Daddy!! Daddy, daddy!" the kids shouted as he embraced them in his arms.

A welcome home moment they can barely describe.

"I'm shaking, like he said it's overwhelming." Amanda says.

"I loved my daddy so much." says 4 year-old Rylie.

"Yea did you like seeing me?" Sergeant Wenisch asks his son who nods yes. "It made my days, communication back home was big."

After 306 days they finally have him home, and have no plans but to be together.

"Sitting at home doing nothing, haha just enjoying his company." Amanda says wiping away her happy tears.

Soldiers also are retuning home to Minot, Bismarck and Chicago.

For some the transition can be difficult, but there are re-integration programs to help returning soldiers and their families adjust.

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