Troop welcomed home from third tour of duty

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Everyone's waiting for a hero.

Petty Officer First Class Tony Gomez said the best part about coming home is, "Right here.  Family's here, everybody's here, I mean you can't ask for more than that," and neither can his family.

"Oh my gosh.  I just, I'm so excited, I can't...I'm just glad he's back home safe.  I'm trying not to cry.  I'm just so excited he's home safe," said his aunt Suzan Hawkins.

His uncle, Ron Hawkins, admitted, "You worry when they're gone, so you know, it's such a thrill to see them make it back home safe."

"I'm ecstatic, I was away from him so long, I was really worried how I would interact with him.  It's hard having him gone," his wife Keri Dellinger-Gomez said.

"I love him and I'm glad he's my dad," said his 11-year-old daughter,Victoria Gomez.

He's faced the perils of war, but this reunion leaves him fighting for words.

"I'm almost speechless," Gomez said.

He's not the only one.

"I'm speechless, I mean, like I say, I'm so proud of everything he's done, what he's over there accomplishing for his country, for his family and to have him back home safe, I mean, It's a blessing," his aunt said as she fought back tears.

A blessing his wife has been asking for.   She's missed her sailor and, "Getting to kiss him."

He may be home, but he won't forget his fellow troops.

"Know that your work's appreciated and everybody loves you at home.  Come home safe and just take care of business.  You'll be home soon," Gomez said.

He said he will only be in Lufkin with his family until next week, and then it's back to work in Virginia.   He is enlisted in the U.S. Navy until 2011, but plans on serving for life.