CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – Alex Russell was one of thousands Americans stranded overseas. He's a soldier in the army and was supposed to begin his two-week leave a few days ago. Tonight, he's finally home. He made it just in the nick of time.
Flags standing at attention; they're a small part of a big salute to soldier Alex Russell who was finally able to fly around the volcanic ash and return home to Chester.
Alex Russell landed at Richmond International Airport around 4:30 p.m.
"All I wanted was to give him a hug and tell him I loved him. That's all I wanted," said mom Diane Sickinger.
Diane hadn't heard from her son Alex in two days, but a phone call from the soldier in the middle of her work day, broke the silence.
"So he starts giving me his flight information and it's like mad dash," Diane said.
At home she already stocked his favorite foods, and ribboned the front door. All she needed for the welcome was a bottle of soda.
"How does the Mountain Dew taste? It tastes great. (laughing)" Alex said.
Alex, who simply wanted a sip of his number one drink, wasn't ready for so many symbols of support.
"I miss this place. Richmond's my home. It will always be my home. I miss this place so much," he said.
The volcanic ash delayed his landing by three days; easy compared to the time challenge other soldiers faced.
"There had been some people there who had been there for 4-5 days," said Alex.
While on leave Alex plans to re-connect with family and friends, relax, and talk with Chesterfield police about a future. Diane is thankful for moments with her son, and the kindness of strangers; a family filled her yard with flags.
"It's made for a really special homecoming for him," said Diane.
Because no matter his age or the distance, when Alex comes home he will always be momma's little boy. Alex has two weeks in the states before going back to Iraq.