Melissa Hernandez of Redwood City is breathing a sigh of relief, knowing that her daughter, Dana Montti, is out of Afghanistan and back on U.S. soil.
Dana is a soldier in the U.S. Army and recently returned from a year's tour of duty in Afghanistan, where she served as a supply coordinator.
A Sequoia High School graduate, Montti was rewarded for her excellent service with a promotion to the rank of Sergeant upon her return.
Now, Montti is at a duty station in Hawaii, and Hernandez is anxiously waiting for next month, when her daughter will be able to return to her hometown of Redwood City.
"I'm so extremely proud of her," Hernandez told Patch, reflecting on how lucky she is that her daughter made it out of Afghanistan safe and sound. She knows, not all parents with children in the service are as fortunate.
In fact, Montti was recently giving an award for leading a touching memorial ceremony for her dear high school friend, Derek Simonetta, who was killed in Afghanistan in December of 2010. Montti read the "Soldier's Creed" at his memorial, held at their alma mater, Sequoia High School.
"His death was very hard on her," Hernandez remembers.
Today, a red, white and blue ribbon is tied around the tree in their front yard on Delaware Avenue in Redwood City.
"That ribbon has been there since the day she left for boot camp in 2008," Hernandez said.
Hernandez is planning a homecoming celebration for her daughter when she comes home to Redwood City in February.
Dana's father, Walter Montti, is an officer with the Redwood City Police Department.
See our video interview with Dana's mother, Melissa Hernandez, and photos of Dana's journey, above.
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