Soldier from Geneva returns home
July 5, 2010 (GENEVA) (WLS) -- A west suburban family has an extra reason to celebrate as they welcome home a young soldier who just completed a 12-month tour in Afghanistan.
The Warriors' Watch riders arrive in the soldier's quiet Geneva neighborhood with much fanfare, but the attention they draw is not meant for themselves.
"We want the town and the neighborhood to know that we are welcoming home a soldier," said Brian "Butch" Peters of Warriors' Watch Riders.
Army Specialist Mike O'Dell, 24, was honored Monday. He enlisted in 2006 and just finished a year-long deployment in Afghanistan, where he served as military police.
"It's nice to be home, it's nice to just get back in the swing of things and just be here, you know, you never really realize how much you miss your family until you're away from them," said O'Dell.
His family was simply grateful that he is safe.
"We spent a year biting our nails and worrying about him and just waiting for him to come home," said Valerie Devine, O'Dell's mother.
"It's been tough - it's been real hard, you pray a lot," said Jim O'Dell, Mike's father. "I know he's a good kid and he's going to be OK."
In a short ceremony, the group presented O'Dell with a challenge coin, warrior beads and a certificate. The offerings were their way of thanking O'Dell for his service and welcoming him home.
This was Army Specialist O'Dell's first tour overseas. He says he does not know how long he will be home. He is on active duty until 2014.
local, ron magers
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