As Elmira resident Scott Hahn touched down and stepped off the plane Sept. 16, rain was pouring all around him. It wasn’t the sunniest welcome home for the Canadian soldier home on vacation from Afghanistan, but the yellow ribbons which hugged the trees lining Brookmead Street in Elmira brightened his day significantly.
Hahn, 23, joined the Canadian military in 2005 as a reservist following high school. After a few years of weekly training sessions at a facility in Kitchener, he decided that he was ready for travel and signed up for a tour in Afghanistan.
“I do presence patrol,” explained Hahn, who worked as an electrician before flying overseas. “It is basically just maintaining a Canadian presence in the country; we talk to the locals a lot and the kids like to come up and talk to us too.”
Currently, he is home for a 17-day break from duty; corporals are given the option of taking a vacation anywhere in the world with their next of kin or using that time to go home for a visit. Hahn chose the second option, noting that his hometown is familiar and welcoming, but also very different from his life overseas.
“It feels a bit different being back,” Hahn noted. “You learn to appreciate the little things like plumbing, sleeping in a real bed, and being able to go to the grocery store and buy your own groceries.”
For neighbours, and friends, it is just nice to have him home safely.
“We are proud to have him as our neighbour and friend,” said neighbour Scott Harris. “Serving our country is not something that many people do, and it takes a lot of sacrifice.”
Harris says that kids who live on Brookmead have sent Hahn pictures and letters while he is in Afghanistan and were excited for his return home as well.
“He is an inspiration to a few of the kids on the street here; they really look up to him.”