Local Man Meets Obama In Afghanistan - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Local Man Meets Obama In Afghanistan

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President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan to mark what might well be a milestone Memorial Day weekend, as America's longest war comes to an end. He spent time in the country thanking troops, including one Davenport man who has been there since February.

Sgt. James Preston Hanna is with the U.S. Air Force. His mother, Amy Costello of Davenport, says she might have expected him to meet the president at some point, but not in Afghanistan.

"I would think it would be somewhere here, locally, but not way over there," she said.

Sgt. Hanna has been in relatively close contact with his family back home. He made sure to call Costello with the news.

"We hear from him every couple weeks," she said. "So glad to have the communication."

On this Memorial Day weekend, she says her son’s opportunity to meet the president came as a good surprise.

"I said, 'What's wrong,' and he said, 'You need to check your e-mail, mom,'" she said. "And there's a picture of him shaking hands with President Obama."

She says she replied right away, and the news quickly spread amongst family and friends.

"His brothers commented on Facebook," she said. "Just asking what kind of handshake it was."

Around 33,000 American troops are still serving in Afghanistan, wrapping up a 13-year mission. Sgt. Hanna is one of them. He is a project manager for dismantling US-built buildings in Afghanistan, as the drawdown continues.

"He's scheduled to come back here in September," Costello said.

Sgt. Hanna deployed out of Wyoming, where his wife and children are living now.

"It's nice to be able to, one, be able to see what's going on over there, to know that he's safe or feels safe," Costello said.

They can't be together this holiday, but she says getting a phone call or photo, any photo, helps.

"I know we're pretty proud of him," she said. "We're pretty proud of any veteran or service man."

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