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Marine surprised by rousing welcome home
Family, church greet his return from Kuwait
U.S. Marine Sgt. Jordan Martin, shown here with daughter Bailey and son Bennett, was welcomed home Friday during a celebration at Cumming First United Methodist Church. - photo by Jennifer Sami


For more images from the welcome home, see our photo gallery.

CUMMING — When Bennett Martin jumped into his father’s arms, it appeared he would never let go.

It had been nearly 10 months since the 3-year-old had seen his father, who’s been serving overseas since August.

“The embrace was better than I imagined,” said U.S. Marine Sgt. Jordan Martin. “This is my perfect little boy right here.”

Jordan Martin arrived home about 6 a.m. Friday after spending 10 months in Kuwait. Just a few hours later, he went to his son’s preschool class at Cumming First United Methodist Church to surprise him.

Martin wasn’t expecting the hundreds of flag-waving children and parents as he entered the church sanctuary. It was a surprise his wife, Shannon, and their son’s teacher, Nancy Marvin, had been working on for weeks.

“We can’t do enough to thank our soldiers. They pay the ultimate sacrifice,” Marvin said. “This is the least we can do to show our appreciation.”

While holding sons Bennett and Gabriel, 1, Jordan Martin said the morning was one surprise after another.

“I just saw all these people and I didn’t even know what to do,” he said. “My wife, she’s too good at these things.”

As he was composing himself after the emotional reunion with his wife and sons, Jordan Martin was in for another surprise — his parents, Shree and Greg Martin, walked into the church.

Shree Martin was just as surprised by the reunion as her son, as neither knew about the celebration.

“It’s just a blessing to honor him. He has just been so faithful,” she said. “I’m just so proud of him for his service and his dedication.”

As the family left the church, there was one more stop to make — to pick up 8-year-old daughter Bailey.

“I don’t know if I could take any more surprises,” Martin joked as the family arrived at her Sawnee Elementary School classroom not knowing how she would react.

But when she saw Martin’s uniform through the doorway, she screamed “daddy” and threw herself into his arms as her classmates smiled.

“I missed you so bad,” Martin said to her.

After a few more family members showed up at the school, Martin told his wife to grab their daughter’s bag.

“Let’s get out of here,” he said. “We’ve got Hungry Hungry Hippos to play.”