By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As Minnesota National Guard members make it home after a year-long deployment some are celebrating their return with an additional member of their family.

Five members of the 34th Expeditionary Combat Brigade were allowed to come home two weeks earlier than the rest, in order to meet the children that were born while they were away.

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WCCO’s Reg Chapman caught up with one of those soldiers who shares his new world of fatherhood.

“It’s great being able to get up with her in the morning and take care of her like I’m supposed to,” said Sgt. Cody Kvamme.

This is the moment Sgt. Cody Kvamme dreamed about, holding his four-month-old daughter Cora. He met her two weeks ago, when he arrived home early from his deployment to the Middle East.

“I’m kind of an unselfish person,” Sgt. Kvamme said.  “I kind of wanted to finish my deployment with the rest of the team but I’m very happy that I was able to come home and spend time with my family.”

This first-time father is more than excited to be home. We were there when his combat aviation Brigade deployed back in September of 2019.

His time away from family extended overseas because of COVID-19.

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“It was really hard, especially when things were going on over there,” wife Jennifer Kvamme said. “We had 36 hours of no contact and that was a first and with the birth.”

Now it’s all about bonding and spending time with family. Their lives — a testament to the sacrifice soldiers and their families make.

For these first time parents, the hard part is adapting to life back home in a COVID-19 world.

“There’s family members that haven’t met her yet and shes four months,” explained Sgt. Kvamme. “I didn’t hug my parents my own parents for four months and I’m a hugger.”

Sgt. Kvamme is proud of his service to the country and so are those who served with him.

“Thank you for your service and the sacrifice you made,” said Penny Bolden with the Blue Star Families. “I know it was a long 12 months deployment, you did miss the birth of your first child and they want to help you new baby and all get the sleep that you deserve.”

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Because of his work overseas, his troops nominated him to receive a new bed, to help him and wife Jennifer handle long nights with baby Cora.

Reg Chapman