Millersburg family reunites with Army son wounded in Afghanistan
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A Millersburg, Indiana family reunited with their military son who flew home Tuesday on medical leave from the army.
Private First Class Jared Yarger earned the Purple Heart in Afghanistan after being wounded in June.
The Indiana Patriot Guard, along with the American Legion Riders from several Indiana posts were lined up to greet him inside the South Bend Regional Airport as well as outside.
This was the first time the Yarger's family has seen Jared since he was wounded.
He suffered facial and head injuries in a blast.
Pfc. Yarger is home on leave until Monday.
His Mother Sheila Rutter said, "he was in the chow hall over in Afghanistan and had just taken his helmet off and they had mortared right next to the chow hall and he had taken shrapnel to some to his forehead."
Sheila says being in the military for the most part is traditional for her family.
Zach Yarger, Jared's 18-year-old brother said, "Our Father did it, his Dad did it, and his Dad did it and we are really proud for him (Jared) to be doing it. You've got to respect what he does and I love him, he's my brother."
Rutter said, "We got a great group of people that just come out and support." The family is part of the Millersburg American Legion Post 484. Several members made the drive to South Bend to welcome Pfc. Yarger when he arrived.
Sheila's husband Dana is a member of the Indiana Patriot Guard he said he recognized several familiar faces in the crowd that gathered outside the airport. However he said there were many strangers that traveled a great distance to be there today to show support for his step-son. "Vietnam Veterans, they didn't get this when they came home and they want to show what this means to them."
Dennis Francis, the senior ride captain with the Indiana Patriot Guard organized the group of 100 plus supporters that showed up on motorcycles to follow behind the family, as South Bend Police led the escort procession back to the town of Millersburg.
Sheila said this is the first time she has seen her son since he got hurt, as tears filled her eyes she said, "this is a lot better than the phone call I got from the United States Army."
His sister Shaina Yarger said, It's amazing to see him again because he hasn't been here in such a long time. He's just a hero to me, he's my hero, and I'm just so proud of him."
Sheila kissed Jared's forehead where you could visibly see his fresh scars from his injuries. She said, "You are fine you are going to be great, we are so proud of you." The family says they know Jared's injuries could have been a lot worse and they are just thankful to have him home.
Next week Pfc. Yarger will fly back to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas where is he stationed for now. He is still being treated for his injuries and this week back home is considered part of his overall wellness treatment to boost morale.
Pfc. Yarger was deployed to Afghanistan in October of 2011.