Families of 875th Soldiers Ready for Their Return

September 14, 2006 -- Posted at 6:16 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- Families of soldiers with the 875th Engineer Battalion Company are anxiously anticipating their return this Sunday.

That's when the men and women will come home for "Operation:  Freedom Furlough".     The soldiers left on July 22nd for Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

The Kirk family is one of the families whose loved one is leaving.  Sergeant First Class Todd Kirk has been in the military for 17 years.

"He spent nine months in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield over in Iraq," said Wendy Kirk.

Now, Kirk, along with hundreds of other soldiers, is returning to see his family before making another trip overseas.

"We're expecting the soldiers to come in on their buses and I have a feeling it will be a very, very, very short formation as they file off those buses," said Kirk.

Unlike many other families, the Kirk family has had the opportunity to see their loved one.  Daughter Katelyn was involved in a pretty bad car accident a few weeks ago breaking both legs and her arm, and dad was able to come home.

"I had no idea that my father was going to be able to come home, because that's not normal.  It was a really good feeling because I needed him here," said Katelyn Kirk.

Sergeant 1st Class Todd Kirk was able to come home because of the money raised during Operation:  Freedom Furlough.

"That is exactly the kind of emergency that is not covered by any other funds, and so our Operation:  Freedom Furlough funds helped us," said Wendy Kirk.

For the families, this time is special, and that moment of reunion is one they will always remember.

"I'm going to run up to him and tell him to give me a piggy back ride," said Jacob Kirk.

"He'll probably call me on the way home and talk to me just because... I don't know, just because I'm his baby girl," said Katelyn Kirk.

Son Jacob probably put it best, "I'm going to be ok, because he's going to be able to contact us and we're going to be able to email him.  He's coming for two days in five months, and then he's going back and I just feel sad that he's going to be gone for a year," said Jacob Kirk.

The soldiers will be home from Sunday until Thursday when they leave out.  Once they return to Fort McCoy they will leave for Iraq.