Returning from a 10-month tour on a U.S. Navy supply ship in the Persian Gulf, Petty Officer 3rd Class Amie Joy was happy to be reunited with her 17-month-old daughter Corynn. She was looking forward to coming home, but was not expecting the welcome that was waiting for her.
"No, not at all, I wasn't expecting anything, but when it got really hard over there, they would tell me that back home things were really okay and people were supporting us," said Joy.
The flag-waving welcome from members of the American Legion and local VFW Posts including Soldotna Mayor David Carey was a total surprise.
"We want to thank you for all that you've done for this country," said Carey, who presented the returning soldier with numerous handmade cards and packages of gum from middle school students.
Joy returned the thanks by personally greeting everyone in the crowd.
Bob Joy, Amie's father, was proud that the community held the celebration for his daughter.
"I was thinking we didn't want these people to come home and be treated the way the Vietnam vets were, I'm really proud of Amie and this community," said Joy, who is happy to be doing his part in raising his granddaughter, including the changing of diapers.
Amie said she joined the Navy to see the world and earn some money for college, but she wasn't expecting to go to war.
"It was different and it got kind of scary. It was definitely helpful and made life a lot better knowing that you were actually doing something for everybody else and that they appreciated it. It can get kind of hard and being out to sea you just don't realize that you are getting that kind of support at home," added Amie.
She returned to "work," as she called it, after only being home for four days. During her short leave, she also visited local classrooms where she shared with students her experiences in the Navy. Amie plans to be out of the Navy and home for good in a year, but her Mother's Day homecoming will be one she says she will never forget.
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