Soldier returns home from Afghanistan

Published 5:29 pm Friday, August 19, 2011

Children from Children’s Corner Daycare in Clanton decorated "welcome home" signs for Jason Melendy. Children’s Corner was Melendy’s former daycare.

Spc. Jason Melendy, 21, of Verbena, received a warm welcome from family and close friends as he arrived home this month on leave from an eight-month stint in Afghanistan with the Military Police of the National Guard.

Melendy’s exact arrival time was a surprise to everyone except for his wife, Michelle, who picked him up in Montgomery and brought him home.

Lisa Nicholas, Melendy’s mother, said she did not know when to expect her son to arrive since travel specifics for the military are confidential.

“I knew about when he was coming (and I) put his signs out,” Nicholas said. “Then, he came and surprised us. He just walked in the door like he was supposed to be there for Sunday evening supper or something.”

Jason Melendy, right, visits with his brother C.J., left, after returning home from eight months in Afghanistan with the National Guard.

Nicholas said workers and children from Children’s Corner Daycare in Clanton made “welcome home” signs and artwork to express their support and gratitude for Melendy and his service.

“When he was 6-weeks old, I took him to Children’s Corner,” Nicholas said. “Jean Boulware, who still owns it, took him in, kind of like one of her own.”

Nicholas said Brenda Mims, a Children’s Corner employee, was also instrumental in the sign-making for Melendy.

“They’ve just kind of helped him along, and I just think they need a pat on their backs,” Nicholas said. “They’re really good, nice folks, and I appreciate them.”

Melendy graduated from Thorsby High School in 2008. He was commissioned as an MP in the National Guard at Ft. Leonardwood, Mo., in 2009.

He is currently stationed in Fairhope.

Nicholas said Melendy eventually wants to pursue a career in the Air Assault division of the military.

“He wants to stay in and go active when his term is up for the National Guard,” Nicholas said.