By Jericka Duncan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – They’ve waited one year to show their signs, their love and their appreciation for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, 131st Transportation Company.
“I can’t wait for him to see his baby,” said Kathleen Everett, referring to her son Specialist Kenneth Everett. “He hasn’t seen her since she was 5-days old.”
When those fathers, mothers, sisters and sons arrived in Philadelphia Saturday morning at the Southampton Readiness Center, the crowd was overcome by emotion.
“I didn’t think I’d make it home,” said 23-year-old Specialist Shawn Butler.
Private First Class Nicolas Degiglio says he met his wife Shannon in Iraq four years ago. They got married in October of last year. One month later, Nicolas deployed to Afghanistan.
“It’s hard,” said Shannon Degiglio. She said even though she’s been deployed oversees, she didn’t realize how difficult it would be to be away from her husband for so long.
Satuday’s homecoming was bitter sweet. Not everyone got a chance to hug their family members who served overseas. Three men from the 131st were killed in action: 49-year-old Sgt. Brian Mowery of Halifax, 47-year-old Sgt. Edward Koehler of Lebanon, and 30-year-old Staff Sgt. Kenneth VanGiesen of Kane.
Amie Gullifer is VanGiesen’s sister.
“My brother did what he did because he loved serving this country,” said Gullifer, who plans to create a memorial in her brother’s name.