Area man enjoys return home after serving 10 months in Iraq
It sure is nice to be home. Especially, when the place you just left was amok with frequent ambushes and roadside bombs.
Tony Rider, a Shawnee resident, and owner of Mr. Goodcents Subs and Pastas in Bonner Springs and Kansas City, Kan., returned home Friday, Oct. 14. His recently completed 10-month tour of duty in Iraq was his third in a combat zone.
Rider, a staff sergeant and section leader of an anti-tank platoon, said he's adjusting to life back home and is concentrating on catching up with his wife and children and "just being a normal citizen again."
"It's just nice to kind of relax," Rider said, adding, "The last three months we were in some pretty bad places, and a lot of bad guys were running around."
Approximately 35 troops were under Rider's command in the Middle East. They operated in and around the city of Fallujah. All of Rider's men made it home alive.
"We probably had nine or 10 guys who were Purple-Heart recipients, but we brought everybody home, which was good," Rider said.
Tuesday afternoon, Rider presented an American flag flown over the military camp in Fallujah to Baker University in Baldwin, his alma mater. Another flag already has been given to Bonner Springs High School, and Rider said several more will be donated to local governments and area residents.
He plans to return to work next week. His Bonner Springs restaurant will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Thursday, which, ironically, also is the Marine Corps' birthday.
His restaurant will offer several promotional specials throughout the anniversary week, Rider said.
"That will be a fun week for me to get back in and get started," he said.