LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Emotions ran high at Cal Lutheran University as Navy Lt. Commander Jeff Gorell, a member of the California State Assembly, was greeted with cheers and smiling faces by more than a hundred people Wednesday, who greeted and welcomed him home from Afghanistan.
Gorell served a year on active duty as a military intelligence officer.
“It’s fantastic to be back. Four months was a long time to be away from your family and the job you love, community you love, so I’m glad to be back,” he said.
He was on leave from the Assembly, with pay suspended, starting in March 20, 2011.
The images of his time spent at a military base deep in the Afghan war zone were still very vivid, as he stood in front of his family and admirers in Thousand Oaks.
“I left behind probably about 6,000 United States Marines that I served with. Some of them are in the most dangerous city in Afghanistan and they are some of the greatest Americans you will ever meet,” Gorell said.
Now that he is back home, he plans to spend time with his wife, Laura, and their two children, a 2-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl.
The assemblyman returns with five months remaining until the Legislature adjourns in August, ending his two-year term. He will face re-election in November.
Gorell believes his time there will make him a better husband, father, assemblyman as well as a better man as a whole.