Spc. Charles Ezell with his mother, (left) Donna Kokoruda, sister, Nikki Morris (center) and wife, Tori Ezell (right).
Three women waited anxiously at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport on Friday. They paced, snacked on junk food, and chatted about almost everything but their reason for being there.
At 5:31 p.m., Donna Kokoruda looked at her watch and started to audibly question what was taking their plane so long. The ladies looked for an airport employee to explain, but none were to be found. Around 5:45 p.m., the plane landed and the women sprinted to the windows to watch the passengers unload. The reason they didn’t speak about their passenger before became obvious when tears started rolling down all three of their faces… their soldier was home.
The women practically attacked Spc. Charles Dalemon Ezell III when he entered the terminal with two fellow soldiers, Spc. Asia Jefferson and Spc. Brandon Hernandez. Ezell’s wife, Tori, won the lighthearted shoving contest with his sister Nikki for the first hug. He too, had tears brimming his eyes.
Spc. Asia Jefferson picks up Aston Brown as her family greets her home at the airport. Her daughters Janga and Jahhyla Jefferson met her with signs and ballons along with Amy and Ashley Hendricks.
“We haven’t seen him in eight months,” explained Tori, who has been caring for their four children while Ezell has been in Afghanistan. He will be home for two weeks before being deployed back, but will come home for good in October.
Ezell has been in the Army National Guard for five-and-a-half years and is an E4 Specialist. Before that, he was in the Air Force for four years. He is a graduate of Caledonia High School and followed in his father’s military footsteps. He is the son of Bill and Donna Kokoruda and has four children with Tori, Wesley Ezell (8), Joshua Helton (8), Tracey Ezell (2) and Lacie Ezell (2).
Armed with signs and balloons, the family of Spc. Asia Jefferson greeted her with much crying and laughter. Her daughters, Janga and Jahhyla Jefferson nearly knocked their mother over with hugs, having not been told beforehand by their aunt that their mom was coming home. Also greeting Jefferson were Amy and Ashley Hendricks and Aston Brown, who was quickly swooped up for a big kiss by the specialist.
Spc.'s Brandon Hernandez, Asia Jefferson and Charles Ezell at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, very happy to be home.
Finally was Spc. Brandon Hernandez who’s wife had not quite made it to the airport. Hernandez was all laughs, lightheartedly supposing what his beloved might be doing instead of meeting him at the terminal. Ezell volunteered to stay until Hernandez was safely delivered to his family, never wanting leave a soldier behind.
The Packet would like to thank all our military heroes for their service and sacrifice this Memorial Day.