Welcome home party for Griffin soldier - myfoxcarolinas.com

Welcome home party for Griffin soldier

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GRIFFIN, Ga. -

Army Specialist Samuel Austin Strickland is back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan and Friday was his birthday.

Strickland is back home in rural Griffin from a nine month deployment in Afghanistan. He's part of a support team to make sure trucks, tanks, armament and other military gear is in tip top shape.

Strickland turned 24 on Friday and was welcomed home with a huge party.

Strickland's parents say they couldn't be prouder because the kid who left for boot-camp returned a man from war.

Terri Smith, a longtime family friend, volunteered her time, effort and money for the party which was complete with a flag lined street, food and drinks. There was even a jump house for the kids!

“It gets you right in the heart so when it got me in the heart I just, just wanted to put it on,” said Smith.

Strickland came back unscathed, unlike a fellow soldier and friend killed in a training exercise accident.

“We take for granted grass and trees and the beautiful Earth we have, the beautiful United Sates,” said Strickland.

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