Michiana mom returns home to see her son after ten months in Afg - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Michiana mom returns home to see her son after ten months in Afghanistan

A Michiana Soldier is just wrapping up her first full day back from Afghanistan.  She and her friends made sure her homecoming was memorable.  Sgt. Casey Rhodes spent the last ten months on deployment in Afghanistan.  She's a member of the 1638th Transportation Company.  

Only a few people knew exactly when Sgt. Rhodes was returning to Indiana.  That included one of her best friends Leslie Callander.  "It was everything we wanted it to be.  It was everything we never expected it to be, everything we expected it to be and then so much more,"  Callander says.  "You can't prepare yourself for something like this "

Callander helped Sgt. Rhodes plan a surprise reunion with friends at a restaurant in Plymouth.  Rhodes was thrilled to surprise each and every person she came across during her homecoming, but there was one little guy in particular she missed most during her time overseas.  

Grason was only eight-months-old when his mom deployed back in September.  With modern technology, she was able to see him via FaceTime.  "Seeing him every night really helped and then my support system they were really great," Rhodes says.  

Callander, who cared for Grason during the deployment, says he would reach out and fist bump with his mom through the camera.  "The way he could communicate with mommy was, you can't physically touch mommy when she's gone, but he could kiss her on the phone through FaceTime," Callander says.

Even with FaceTime, it was still tough, especially on big days like Christmas, Grason's birthday and the day he took his first steps.  "It was definitely sad, all I could think about was counting down the days until I got home," Rhodes says.

That's what made holding her son again so special.

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