Operation: Freedom Furlough Becomes Mission Accomplished

September 17, 2006 - Posted at 1:53 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- For the children of the Jordan family, waiting for Sunday morning was like waiting for Christmas Day.

"I didn't fall asleep until like about 3 o'clock," smiled Jessica Jordan excitedly, "I'm such a daddy's girl and I'm so excited because my daddy is coming home!"

On Sunday morning, Operation: Freedom Furlough officially became mission accomplished as the men and women of the 875th Engineer Battalion returned to  Jonesboro for some much deserved rest and relaxation with their loved ones.

"It's time to get to see the family before we have to go back over...just time to reconnect," said Sgt. John Jordan who was reunited with his family.

"I'm glad that is he is home and he is getting to be here with us and that he doesn't have to stay in Wisconsin the whole time and miss it all," said Austin Jordan and he held his father's hand.

The men and women of the 875th were aboard chartered buses for over 12 hours. While it was a long trip, they plan to cherish these last couple days at home before they leave again...this time for Iraq.

"Oh it's worth it," said Sgt. John Jordan emotionally, "It's definitely worth it.  We were all wondering how we were going to get home. Trying to plan to get the money just so we could get home but we weren't sure how we were going to do that."

But thanks to the good neighbors of Region 8...generosity brought them home.  KAIT, partnered with the with Triple FM Radio Group, First National Bank, and Ritter Communications, raised more than $158,000 to bring the troops home.  The money raised was used to charter buses to bring the nearly 400 deployed soldiers back to Region 8.

"It was the most wonderful feeling in the world knowing they have so much love and support waiting for them," said wife Margarett Jordan, "It's just good for them and great for us knowing they have our backs while they are gone."

"We just appreciate people jumping in and helping to raise the money so we could come home," said Sgt. John Jordan.

"We love you all and we are so, so thankful," said Margarett Jordan.

The men and women of the 875th Engineer Battalion will head out Thursday morning.