GAINESVILLE - Army reservists with the 802nd Ordinance Company, based in Gainesville, got their official welcome home Saturday in a ceremony at Lakewood Baptist Church and a thanks from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.
The Governor said the U.S. is the one nation who shows up anywhere in the world where democracy is threatened as he saluted the soldiers of the 802nd, who returned from Afghanistan last November.
"We can never say 'thank you' enough," Governor Deal said. "We know that you have been placed in harm's way, we know that you have been separated from family and friends, and we know that is what you accepted when you volunteered to be a part of our great military force."
802nd Company commander Captain Todd Bostick also received a proclamation from Gainesville Mayor Ruth Bruner declaring that Saturday was "802nd Ordinance Company Day" in the city.
Song writer/minister Joey Nicholson seemed to sum up everyone's feelings with his song "I Say Thank You."
PFC Jessica Matos from Dahlonega says it was nice to relax with friends and family after Afghanistan duty.
"I like being home, it's all about getting back on track and back into the swing of being home," Matos said.
Specialist Mitchell Paul Rich of Clarksville was glad to be back from his third deployment.
"It was really good to see my friends and family again," Rich said.
Operation The Patriot's Call (OPC) support group retired its flag during the ceremony, with OPC Master of ceremonies Ron Kellner saying the group, with the 802ND'S homecoming, was going to become inactive but stands ready if needed to be of further assistance and support to service members and their families.
Each 802nd member was presented by Operation Patriot's Call with a special coin to commemorate their service in Afghanistan.