WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published May 22, 2012, 10:08 PM

A Heartwarming Homecoming for Grand Forks Soldier

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Lieutenant Colonel Jose Rivera spent the past six months in Afghanistan away from his wife and three kids. On Tuesday, the family was reunited.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Lieutenant Colonel Jose Rivera spent the past six months in Afghanistan away from his wife and three kids.

On Tuesday, the family was reunited.

Rivera's wife, Audrea, told the kids they were picking up their "Auntie" at the Grand Forks International Airport. But when their dad walked through the door instead, all three were fighting for a hug.

It was one of those homecomings that just melts your heart. Everyone at the airport stopped once Rivera walked through the door, and seeing the kids' reaction was a real treat itself.

After six long months, Jose Rivera is finally home.

"It's hard to describe with words. I just want to spend time with them," Jose said.

"It just feels different when he's home. He's the happy in our home," Audrea said.

For this homecoming, Jose changed his look a bit and grew a beard. It was a little hard for his kids to recognize him at first.

"It took them a split second," Audrea said.

But even with the beard, all three were latched on, squeezing their father tight. Especially 4-year-old Gael.

"I think of all the kids he's probably suffered the worst in a house full of girls, he's missed his daddy the most," Audrea said.

"It's really hard because they're growing and doing so many things right now and I miss them. Even for six months, you miss a lot of things," Jose said.

For the next two weeks the Riveras have their schedules cleared before Jose has to go back overseas. He says he's blessed even to be home for just a short time.

"I'm very lucky to have the opportunity to come and see them at least for two weeks," Jose said.

Rivera is on his fourth tour in Afghanistan.

Tags: