Local Hero Returns Home from Iraq

November 29, 2004 -- Posted at 5:30 p.m. CST

Riverside Superintendent Larry Nowlin received a homecoming celebration today from his student body.

He is considered more than just an authority figure to this school system.

Evident by the standing ovation in the high school gym during his reception, he is a hero.

Jr. High Principal, Gale Yates says, "I just think he has set a great example for the student body here. It's a very difficult thing to leave your wife, your family and your job."

This mission is one of three for Nowlin.

Although he has risked his life before, this is a mission much different than the others.

He is humbled by his experience and proud to be an American.

"I still have a lot of feelings over there, but it is just great to be home. There is just no country like the United States," Nowlin says.

Nowlin's wife expressed her fear for her husband, but like his students, she was always confident he would come home.

"I worried about what he was having to face, but at the same time, I knew that he was well trained and that he would do anything he could to make it home," Mrs. Nowlin says.

Nowlin is anxious to continue his work but he has an additional lesson for his students and his fellow Americans.

"People in the United States just don't realize how easy they have it. They need to go overseas and see just how people live," Nowlin says.

He is inspired by his pride for our country, but as he returns to work, he receives even more inspiration.

This is just another day in life, he refuses to take for granted.

"To see the support from the kids and to feel it from the faculty is going to mean a lot to him as he gets back into his work," Mrs. Nowlin says.