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Community welcomes PSU grad home from military deployment
Maj. Josh Shay and his wife Michelle were greeted by family, friends and fellow Gorillas upon Shay’s return from a 10-month deployment to Jordan.

Community welcomes PSU grad home from military deployment

Josh Shay wasn’t certain what to expect as he and his wife Michelle drove home from the airport. A Major in the Army National Guard, Josh was returning home after a 10-month deployment to Jordan.

“I said to Michelle, ‘there’s not going to be, like, a lot of people waiting is there?’,” Josh said. “She said, ‘Well, my Mom might be there and maybe a neighbor’.”

What Josh returned to was more than even Michelle expected as family, friends, and Josh’s fellow Gorillas welcomed him home with hand-painted signs; red, white and blue streamers, and lots of Dr. Pepper — his favorite drink.

“I wasn’t expecting this,” Josh said. “It’s wonderful to have so much support. Our neighbors, yes, but really, it’s the entire Pittsburg community. They really show their support for the military.”

His military service began in 2004 when he graduated from Pittsburg State University and commissioned as an officer through the university’s Army ROTC program. After several station stops, he was working as an enrollment officer in PSU’s Department of Military Science when he got word of his deployment.

“I was with the 35th Infantry Division for the majority of time I was in Jordan,” he said.

While Josh was deployed, Michelle focused on doing double duty to take care of everything at home.

“I couldn’t have done it without the help of our friends and neighbors,” she said. “They didn’t just ask, ‘What can we do?’ They did it.”

As the hugs and well-wishes began to slow down, both Josh and Michelle began to share reflections.

“I can tell you, the mattresses have been horrible for the last 10 months. I’ll probably sleep for 15 hours or so,” Josh said with a chuckle.

After a slight pause, he continued. “It’s going to be so nice to sleep in my bed, and under the same roof with my family. It’s good to be home.”

Michelle echoed that sentiment.

“You just feel like half of you is gone,” she said. “It’s just a relief. I’m so thankful that he’s back.”

He is expecting to return to his position as Enrollment Officer with PSU’s ROTC program in late April — just in time to see the newest cadets, the men and women he helped recruit, commission as U.S. Army officers.

 

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