A Soldier Returns Home | Military Homecoming Photographer

It was April 4th, 2013 at the Monticello Community Center and it was time for the Minnesota National Guard 257th Military Police Company to return home. 120 soldiers returning from a year long deployment in Afghanistan, ready to be reunited with their loved ones.

I made the journey to Monticello to document the next chapter in the love story of Brian Sheppard and Kelly Gilles. A story I began documenting with their engagement while Brian was deployed. 

A large turnout was expected and we arrived early to get near the front of the room. The soldiers were delayed by 90 minutes so it was a long wait as anticipation and excitement built. Then, it was time; the buses had arrived outside and the energy in the room crept to a new high.

A short formation followed by dismissal; and the room erupted as soldiers and their loved ones converged for the first hugs in almost a year.

Brian and Kelly shared their first kiss as an engaged couple and the next chapter in their lives was underway. In addition to being separated from his fiance' and sons, Brian was also unable to partake in his love of craft beer while deployed. That's why the second order of business was to get to the trunk of the car and enjoy a can of Surly Furious, one of his favorites. Now everything was right with the world again...