Jan 23, 2012 8:00 PM by Courtney Meznarich

Santa Maria man returns home early from tour of duty in Afghanistan

A Santa Maria man is back at home with his family Monday after serving time overseas in Afghanistan.

Back in July, family and friends held a special send-off for Specialist Adrian Heredia and his best friend, Michael Hamilton.

Heredia's brother paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country while fighting overseas in Iraq, so his family was especially thankful when Heredia came home alive Friday night, and early, from his tour of duty. Heredia enlisted in the military in honor of his late brother.

Heredia's tour was cut short after he was injured, just three months after he deployed to Afghanistan.

He was hurt October 27 and was sent to Landstuhl Medical Center. He was then moved to Fort Bliss, where he has been receiving medical attention and therapy since November.

More than a dozen people with Welcome Home Troops gathered at the Santa Maria Airport late Friday night to welcome Heredia home. He was greeted by his mother, his wife and child, and plenty of baked goods and treats from complete strangers who just wanted to say "thank you."



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