SPC Don Nichols' family helps welcome home 1-133rd - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SPC Don Nichols' family helps welcome home 1-133rd


It was a scene right out of a movie, as 120 members of the 1-133rd returned Saturday from a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.

There were hugs, kisses, and a few tears as the soldiers reunited with their families after so many months apart.

"It kept us apart physically, but emotionally and spiritually it brought us very close," said SPC Greg Shadlow.

But for one mother, the ceremony was also a reminder that her son is not coming home.

"Bittersweet, sad. I'm glad everyone's coming home safe, but I want my son back," Becky Poock, mother of SPC Don Nichols, told KWWL at the UNI-Dome Saturday.

Nichols is one of five men who will not return from this Iowa National Guard mission.

Three months ago, Poock said goodbye to her son one final time. Now, she's welcoming home his friends, his brothers-in-arms.

"It's what Donnie would want me to do. Show support for the guys he served with. They were his family, his other family over there," she said.

Getting through the ceremony was a challenge.

"My mind's just racing in a million different directions," she noted.

But she's doing it for Donnie, with the strength of a community.

"It's hard. But somehow I'll figure out how to get through it," she added.

The Nichols family said their son always wanted to be a soldier and died doing what he loved. Guard members at Saturday's event said they were honored to see Nichols' loved ones welcoming them home.

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