Charleston soldier comes home for the holidays

    Lt. Nicki Warner hugs her mother after stepping off of a plane at Yeager Airport late Tuesday night. (WCHS/WVAH)

    A young soldier is home with her family and friends after two tours in Afghanistan.

    Lt. Nicki Warner was greeted by her family after she stepped off of the plane late Tuesday night. Much to her surprise, she was also welcomed by a crew of Charleston veterans. The West Virginia Patriot Guard Riders had a banner custom made with her name and picture. The veterans greeted her with plenty of hugs and "thank yous."

    "It was definitely great to see my mom and dad," Warner said. "I wasn't expecting the rest. The crowd and the banner almost brought tears to my eyes."

    Warner has been away from home for a year. She is a Bronze Star recipient and a member of the U.S. Army's 2/12 Infantry Battalion, Fourth Infantry Division. The 25 year old is a graduate of George Washington High School and West Point Academy. Warner had a message to her fellow soldiers who did not have the chance to come home.

    "Thank you so much for everything you do. I know the holidays are the hardest to be away. I'm appreciative. We're all appreciative. We can't wait for you all to come home," she said.

    Warner said she is most looking forward to is spending time with her family and friends. The West Virginia Patriot Guard Riders also escorted Warner and her family home as a final thank you.

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