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Military veteran receives warm welcome home after 10 years of service

Raquel Enero

Monday, August 18, 2014, 5:51:03 PM
Veteran receives warm welcome home after 10 years of service.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael Kurdziolek suspected that his mother might have planned something to make his homecoming to Seneca Falls, New York special. However, nothing could have prepared him for the welcome he received. Kurdziolek, a 2004 graduate of Mynderse Academy, enlisted in the Army right out of high school. He was deployed to Iraq and Southwest Asia in 2010 after being stationed overseas in Greenland and Italy for several years.

Humbled by a hero's welcome
Kurdziolek was recently escorted on motorcycles by the Patriot Guard Riders and American Legion Riders as he returned home after 10 years in the military. He was surprised by the crowd of people that lined East Bayard Street Extension to salute him and cheer him on as he went by, according to the Finger Lake Times. His mother, LouAnne Leddy, also decorated the town with ribbons and flags.

"My mom has always been kind of mischievous, she does this surprise stuff all the time," Kurdziolek said, according to the news source. "I was expecting something, but I certainly wasn't expecting this."

Kurdziolek was supported by a number of friends and family who helped plan the event. Bob Plate of Seneca Falls, a good family friend and fellow Air Force veteran, was the leader of the escort. Plate told The Finger Lake Times that homecoming events like this are what the Patriot Guard loves to do. He said honoring and supporting the men and women that risk their lives for the country is important to him and the other supporters in Seneca Falls. He loves to see that there's still a lot of youth who are willing to make that sacrifice.

A deserving tribute after years of bravery
Kurdziolek was a member of the Air Force security forces and was assigned to joint defense operations in Balad. He worked with different branches of the military and said that the base was a frequent target of mortar fire from insurgents. He reflected on how they were mortared on a daily bases, and even remembered a day they were struck 17 times a shift. 

His mother had to "sign his life away" for him, as he was only 17 years old when he enlisted, according to the Finger Lake Times. Now that he's home, Kurdziolek said he just wants to enjoy time lost with his wife and their two young children. 

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