Leslie Sell couldn’t find her husband in the crush of well-wishers welcoming home members of the 758th Maintenance Co. from their tour of duty in Iraq.
Leslie Sell couldn’t find her husband in the crush of well-wishers welcoming home members of the 758th Maintenance Co. from their tour of duty in Iraq. Sell said her husband, Sgt. Keith Sell, called her to tell her he was on the first of two buses coming from Camp Atterbury in Indiana. But when the vehicles arrived Wednesday at the company’s base near Columbus, Leslie Sell, who works for American Electric Power in Canton, found she was next to the second bus. Between her and husband were hundreds of people, hugging, kissing, shaking hands and taking pictures. A military band played in the background. American flags were everywhere. Soldiers were thanked and praised. Keith Sell, of Hanoverton in Columbiana County, snuck up behind his wife and children. When she turned to find him there, the smile returned to her face, and the two embraced. Lou Myers of Perry Township and her children had an easier time finding her loved one, Sgt. Franklin Myers. After serving two tours of duty in the Middle East and 27 years, five months and one day in the military, Franklin Myers said he is retiring to spend more time helping his wife raise the family, even though he had re-enlisted before leaving for Iraq. “I have to stop being selfish and take care of the family,” he said. “It’s not selfish,” a smiling Lou Myers countered. “You’ve been serving the country, but it’s time for the family.” Earlier in the day, while families and friends waited hours for the soldiers to arrive, she said home life has been “a real struggle. It’s been a roller coaster ride.” But she was “tickled pink” with the arrival of her husband. Franklin Myers said he was most worried about whether their youngest, Shane, would remember him. The soldier has been gone nearly 14 months. That worry dispensed almost immediately as Shane reached out for his father’s arms and then held on tight as dad and mom kissed. The company mobilized in July 2006 and arrived in Kuwait on Sept. 20 before moving into Iraq. The 110 Army reservists, about 30 from the Stark County area, were split among several forward bases, according to military spokesman Sgt. Michael Chann. Myers and Sell were based at Camp Anaconda, which is about 50 miles north of Baghdad. Their job was to weld armor onto vehicles and repair those damaged in battle. While Anaconda came under mortar fire, there were no deaths or battle injuries to the company, Chann said. Reach GateHouse Columbus Bureau Chief Paul E. Kostyu at (614) 222-8901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.