Families and friends were reunited with troops returning from Afghanistan this week, and the Edmonton Garrison hosted a reception in their honour Thursday.

Kristina Torringa was reunited with her fiancé, Ryan Hammermeister, this week after he was deployed for more than six months in Afghanistan.

Torringa, like some of the military families who attended the reception of the 125 Edmonton-based troops of Task Force 3-08 on Thursday, sat on a bench and shed tears of joy sitting with Hammermeister, saying she was “relieved” to see him alive.

Hammermeister said it was difficult being away from home for so long but the support of his friends and loved ones such as Torringa kept him motivated and hopeful in Afghanistan.

Now that he’s home, Hammermeister says he looks forward to “spending time with my fiancée and my son.”

Cpl. Pat Mullin, who was also deployed in Afghanistan, recalls the constant terror of hearing about fallen troops.

“It hits you because you’re losing somebody who does the same kind of thing that you do, same country that you come from; same flag that you wear on the shoulder,” he said.

At the reception for the troops, Cpl. Mullin was joined by his daughter Samantha and his wife, Kimberly, who carried their new baby.

Samantha said she was “so happy” that her dad has made it home.

“I thought he wouldn’t come home but he did,” she said.

Meanwhile, Hammermeister could be deployed back to Afghanistan again and asked Canadians to “give us your support.”

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