- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - A U.S. Marine from Traverse City has returned home after serving eight months in his latest tour overseas.

Staff Sgt. Sam Minor, 32, returned from Iraq on Tuesday night after his seventh deployment with the U.S. Marine Corps, the Traverse City Record-Eagle (http://bit.ly/1QS4wHx ) reported. A group of supporters gathered with flags and signs at the Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City to give the Marine his first real homecoming.

“He’s never had a real homecoming,” His wife, Tatum, said. “I feel he’s earned it.”

Sam Minor was floored by the “massive” gathering of people who greeted him as he returned to his hometown.

“I never would have thought there would be anything like this here,” he said. “To see that here, to me, it’s pretty shocking. This is where I’m from. I’m taken aback.”

Grand Traverse Area Veterans Coalition President John Lefler helped organize the homecoming for Minor, which he believes represents the community’s appreciation for all U.S. military members and veterans.

“There’s so many that don’t get recognized after their multiple sacrifices,” Tatum Minor said. “It’s something that I felt was needed this time.”

The Marine has been deployed five times to Iraq and twice to Jordan in the 14 years since he enlisted. Tatum Minor hopes her husband will be able to finish out his 20-year Marine Corps career stateside with his family.

“What we’re hoping from here is to start another chapter in this wonderful book of life of ours,” she said. “We’ll make the best of any kind of situation that we’re given. That’s what we do.”

Sam Minor is a Traverse City West Senior High School graduate.

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Information from: Traverse City Record-Eagle, http://www.record-eagle.com

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