Surprise homecoming arranged for local marine

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Updated: 6/10 11:31 pm

AVERILL PARK, N.Y. – A surprise homecoming was arranged for a local marine returning to the Capital Region from deployment.

Lance Cpl. Frank Houser Jr. was deployed in Afghanistan for eight months. He returned to the Capital Region Tuesday, and it was a moment of relief for his parents.

“Just waiting for that call, and when you get that call it’s like, ‘Ah,’ you’re breathing again,” his father Frank Houser Sr. said.

Frank and Tammy Houser said they battled sleepless nights while their son was overseas.

“He’s a combat marine, so we knew he was active and when we were sleeping he was working so we weren’t really sleeping,” Tammy said.

“So it’s safe to say we work up at three in the morning quite often,” Frank agreed.

Friends and family threw the marine a surprise homecoming in Averill Park Tuesday.

“I saw a police escort, and I was like, ‘There’s got to be something waiting for me,’” Lance Cpl. Houser said. “And I saw all the vehicles, looked at Jamie, and said, ‘This isn’t right. This isn’t dinner.’”

Lance Cpl. Houser said it was memories of his friends and family that kept him going.

“There was days where everything will get you down, and the guys around you, they keep you going,” he said.

His family said his safe return has been a huge relief. It reminds them to be thankful for those who died fighting for the country.

“There were three guys that left with him that didn’t come back, and the five that we lost today, and I just think about those families so you’ve got mixed feelings,” his father said. “You’ve got ambivalence and my heart just breaks for them.”

Lance Cpl. Houser said he will be in the Capital Region for about a month, and he will then return to his station in North Carolina.

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