ALAMOSA — “Daddy, daddy, daddy,” Tobin 2 1/2, repeated Thursday night after his father Chaplain (CPT) Deric Sneller returned from military deployment in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
U.S Army Captain Sneller had not seen his wife Rebecca and son Tobin since May when he had enjoyed a two-week break from his yearlong deployment.
Thursday night he was home for good, just in time to celebrate Veterans Day in Alamosa with his family.
He was welcomed home at the SLV Regional Airport by Boy Scouts, Blue Star Mothers, neighbors, family and friends who had prayed for his safe return during the past year.
Greeting the crowd with few words, Sneller simply said, “Thank you for coming, Thank you for your prayers.”
Rebecca said, “I am just so glad he’s back.”
Blue Star Mothers, who had just sent several care packages to soldiers still deployed, held a banner stating “Welcome Home Hero.”
Pat Doane and 7-year-old Regan Zook, close friends of the Snellers, held a banner stating, “Welcome Home, Deric! We’ve Missed You!”
Doane said this was especially meaningful to her because she was not able to greet her son David when he came back from Iraq because he was too far away. Deric reminds her of her own son, she said.
Scouts Kenneth and Sean Bertin (Webelos II and Cub Scout, respectively) and brother AJ, who will be old enough for scouting next year, made a special banner they presented to Captain Sneller Thursday night, “Welcome Home Chaplain Sneller.”
On the same flight to Alamosa was another veteran, Cecil Wiswell, who served in the U.S. Navy before, during and after World War II and retired from the Army National Guard.
He had flown in from Washington to visit his brother Theodore “Ted”, an Army veteran and retired miner from Leadville, on his 90th birthday at the Colorado State Veterans Center at Homelake.
After the crowd dispersed and the Snellers prepared to head home, the two soldiers from different conflicts and generations stood together, one still in uniform, the other long since discharged, both having honorably served their country.