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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) —  Tim Blank might still be planting kisses on the cheeks and lips of his 2-year-old daughter. Who could blame him? He’s been in Afghanistan for a year serving his country, leaving his wife and three children behind.

In his other life, he’s a Battalion Chief with Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue and he returned home to a hero’s welcome of cheers, applause and hugs on Thursday night.

“(I’ve) been looking forward to this day for a long, long time,” he told CBS 4’s Carey Codd.

Blank was stationed in Kabul. As the United States winds down operations in Afghanistan, Blank is one of many in the military assisting in training Afghan Army forces to take over security of their own country. He admits that he can’t say much about what he did.

“Just part of the training mission over there to help them become their own entity,” he said. “Not much more I can say on that.”

But he can say a lot about his commitment to serving his country and his community.

“For my whole life, I’ve always done either military or civil service — both rewarding professions,” he said. “I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.”

It took Blank two and a half weeks of travel to get back home. He’ll have several weeks off before returning to work.


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