Sergeant Matt Braden of the United States Marine Corps returned from a more than six-month deployment to Afghanistan in February and was honored for his service at commissioners’ Feb. 29 session.
“I am definitely glad to be home,” Braden said.
The Amelia graduate received a certificate of appreciation from commissioners, a challenge coin from Danny Bare, director of the Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission and a congressional proclamation from Sara Dreier on behalf of Congresswoman Jean Schmidt.
“Welcome home,” Bare said. “We’re very proud of you.”
Braden said the support he received from home during his deployment was amazing. He said he received many packages and was able to share things with other Marines in his unit.
“Here in Clermont County everywhere you look there is a yellow ribbon,” he said. “It warms your heart to see that people here support you.”
Braden’s parents Tracy and Steve are also involved with The Thank-You Foundation, which helps support service men and women as well as their families.
Braden spent more than six months in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, however he returned to the states a couple weeks earlier than the rest of his unit so he could be with his family after his mother-in-law passed away.
“Family is most important,” he said. “And being able to be with my wife during this time.”
Matt and his wife, Meghan, were married before he left for his deployment in March of 2011 at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.
“When he was able to home home it was like a burden lifted off me,” Meghan said. “It was definitely a huge relief.”
In addition to returning home to be with his family, Braden will also be returning to work at the Amelia Police Department.
When he left last year, he wasn’t sure if he would have a job because the village was in the process of deciding whether or not to dissolve the department.
“That was my biggest worry,” Braden said. “When I read online that everything was fine I was relieved.”
Braden said he is looking forward to getting back to work and getting to know the new police chief.