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Soldier reunited with his toddler son

HEBRON, Ky. (Angenette Levy) -- U.S. Army Sgt. Shane Wheeler has spent much of the last two years in Afghanistan.

Friday, he was reunited with his 2-year-old son Miles. He's been deployed for much of Miles's life.
 
"I haven't seen him in 269 days," said Heidi Wheeler, Miles's mother.
 
Sgt. Wheeler, 22, is a JAG paralegal. He's been deployed with an Army Ranger unit and most recently with U.S. Special Forces. He's kept in touch with his family via Skype, watching his son grow from a baby to a toddler.
 
"Really difficult but I've had amazing support. Not only from my family but my friends. If I had to I'd do it all over again," Heidi Wheeler said.
 
Miles ran around the waiting area at CVG playing with a balloon. Later, he waited holding a sign that read, "Afghanistan finally gave my daddy back." Miles saw his dad and ran toward him. The energetic and intelligent toddler giggled as he ran into his father's arms.
 
"It was hard. I've only seen him for about four weeks in the past two years. It's been hard but now we'll be together for good until I have to go again," Sgt. Wheeler said.
 
A group of Patriot Guard Riders stood by with American flags. Sgt. Wheeler greeted each of them with a handshake. Following his father's lead, Miles shook the riders' hands, too. Unable to contain her excitement any longer, Heidi Wheeler jumped on her husband, greeting him with a huge hug.
 
"I'm trying not to cry. He's home. My prayers go out to those families that don't have that privilege because I couldn't imagine what it would be like to not have him walk through that door," Heidi said.
 
Sgt. Wheeler also hugged his older sister, Bree, and his mother, Christine Kochanowski.
 
"It's amazing. It's been a long time. I've had his family here but not him and now they're complete so as a mom that's all I can hope for," Kochanowski said.
 
Shane Wheeler was looking forward to eating something other than Army food. His first order of business: "Just spending time with Miles and Heidi."
 
Wheeler will celebrate his 23rd birthday on Sunday. Next month, he and his family will move to Ft. Lewis, Washington where he'll be stationed.
 

 

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