Master Sgt. Mick Mummert of Hailey had a huge backpack on his shoulders and a tiny blonde girl in his arms. Mummert’s wife and extended family surrounded him, some wearing shirts reading “Welcome home papa.”
Mummert and his wife, Bettyann, celebrated their 25th anniversary while Mummert was overseas. He didn’t come home for leave fearing it would be too hard to say goodbye a second time.
So the family hadn’t seen its patriarch for a year.
The tiny blonde was one of Mummert’s six grandchildren, 5-year-old Kodiann.
“She was 3 when I left,” Mummert said.
Bettyann and Mick worked out in advance a sign - Mick’s right hand at his brow - so she’d be able to tell him from the other soldiers as he stepped off the plane.
“He gave me the sign and my heart stopped,” Bettyann said. “I haven’t cried much and I never worried about him. I had such a peace he would be all right.”
The Mummerts will celebrate their 26th anniversary Dec. 1 on a four-day Mexican cruise.