Soldier Returns to WA, Comforts His Friend's Mother - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Soldier Returns to WA, Comforts His Friend's Mother

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KENNEWICK, Wash.--  A soldier is back in Washington after being in Iraq for the past six months.  Monday night, he made a special stop in the Tri-Cities.

Specialist Alexis Love is actually from Cheney, but came to Kennewick to visit a friend's mother, Shirley Schmunk.  Schmunk's son died in Iraq in 2004.  Her son and Love were both in the Moses Lake unit of the National Guard.  She has since been very active in the military community and surprised Love tonight with a huge homecoming ceremony at Granny's Buffet in Kennewick.  Love thought they were just having dinner with his fiance and son.

Love talked about how much things have changed, both over in Iraq and how much his son has grown.  He explains, "He was all short and chunky when I left, and now he's tall and skinny.  It was nice and he recognized me right off the bat.  Over in Iraq, things changed a lot.  They're slowing down.  I'm not saying it's safer, but they definitely slowed down."

Love heads back to Iraq for another five months in a week and a half.  Schmunk says Love and the other National Guardsmen get her through the day and are her support system.