Private First Class Kelly Ward is back home on a special mission. The soldier who has been serving in Iraq for the past eight months wanted to surprise his family.
“I surprised them at the door. They didn't know I was coming until I knocked on the front door. They were pretty shocked," says Kelly
“When I walked in he was in the dining room. I looked at him, looked away, it was unbelievable, such a joy," Kelly’s dad Michael remembers. But no one was as surprised to see Kelly as his sister AnnEtta who’s getting married this weekend.
“He rang the doorbell when I saw him I threw the phone across the patio and just burst into tears,” said AnnEtta.
Kelly kept the visit a secret for over a month, telling his parents he'd be away on a mission and not to worry. His sister says it’s the best wedding gift ever. After the wedding Kelly will have to say good-bye again. He leaves on Monday to head back to Iraq where he's in charge of security and rebuilding operations in Kirkuk with the U.S. Army.
“Saddam's regime didn't deal with that city much for the last five years. We’ve built up lots of roads and are cleaning trash, so we're putting people to work and getting them jobs, stuff like that,” says Kelly.
And while Kelly's family is sad to see him go they say they're proud of him and his dad is offering these last few words, “come home safe.”
Kelly is not expected to be back home again until January or February and says he will be stationed in Iraq for the next four to five months.