H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Jun 9, 2011 1:14 AM by Danielle Lerner

Dozens gather at midnight to welcome home Templeton soldier

A happy homecoming for a Templeton soldier who just returned from his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. Army Specialist Cort Thompson arrived back on the Central Coast just after midnight Wednesday morning.

The clock struck midnight as Jillanna Myers anxiously awaited her son's arrival at the San Luis Obispo Airport Wednesday. Despite the hour, she was joined by dozens of friends, family members, her sixth-grade students and people she had never met. Groups like Welcome Home Troops and the American Legion of Paso Robles also came out to show support.

"We want them to know that we support them and that we love them," said Cheryl Tolan of Welcome Home Troops.

Then finally, after a seven-month tour of duty in Afghanistan and Germany, Army Specialist Cort Thompson returned home.

"I was totally in shock," Thomspon said. "I was just expecting my parents and it looks like the whole community turned out to say hello."

Still, even surrounded by friends and family, Thompson says his initial thoughts turned to his military family.

"You just remember everyone that you spent time with over there," he said. "Everyone that you tried to take care of and everyone that took care of you, that's really what it's all about."

A homecoming fit for a hero, and a community forever thankful to have him home.

"A lot of prayers and a lot of support from family and friends I know make that happen," said Myers.

Specialist Thompson will be home on leave for three weeks enjoying time with family and friends before starting his next adventure. He has been appointed to West Point, where he hopes to continue excelling in aviation. He reports to classes at the end of this month.

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