Emotional homecoming for Ore. soldiers

Emotional homecoming for Ore. soldiers

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by Anne Yeager, KGW Staff

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kgw.com

SALEM , Ore. -- Hundreds of Oregon military families were reunited, after being apart for months while serving overseas.

Soldiers with the 41st Brigade of the Oregon National Guard were treated with a ceremony full of dignitaries, including Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski.

Specialist Richard Wigginton had dreamed of seeing his two little girls for the first time in months.

"It was wonderful to see their smiling faces, " said Wigginton.

He has missed one year of school functions and dance recitals. His wife, Ashley, said it's been very hard.

"It's like being a single mom. The kids are glad to have their daddy home," she said.

In the Spears' family, Shawn had to take on the duties of both a mother and father.

"It's difficult to assume both roles," said the mother of three. Her son Solomon, 17, missed talking to his father about "guy stuff."

"I don't have a father who can talk to me about girls. He's also the math genius so I didn't get help with my homework that I was used to," said Solomon.

But all of that longing and angst disappeared during the ceremony.

Hundreds of families went home to have dinner together, a luxury Cody Donaldson, 17, now doesn't take for granted.

"I miss his sense of humor. I'm just happy."

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