Soldier welcomed home from Iraq

SHAMONG, N.J. - August 21, 2010 "This is insane. It's so moving. I can't describe it," said Sgt. Donnie Russell. "Words can't describe it. I wish all my guys could be here."

Russell is home after serving two tours in Iraq. During the second tour in October 2009 he left behind his newlywed wife, Fran, and his one-month-old baby girl, Isabella. But he's made it home in time to celebrate his daughter's 1st birthday.

"I left her a month after she was born and I made it home by her birthday."

The event was organized by the Yellow Ribbon Club of Burlington County, a group organized by Leslie Drummond after her own 20-year-old son went off to war, with no guarantee she would ever see him again.

"When he was coming home, I was so excited and I didn't know how to voice it loud enough, I didn't know how to let everybody know I was one of the lucky ones. And that's how we started doing the Welcome Homes," Leslie said.

The group has done over 100 homecomings in places as far away as Seattle and Chicago. This one comes during an important milestone. The week the last combat troops pulled out of Iraq.

"We were part of the last push and things over there really turned around. They can handle their own now," Sgt. Russell said.

Indeed, Sgt. Russell's return home also served as a symbolic end to 7 years of war in Iraq.

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