Returning soldier on welcome: ‘Awesome to come home’

Michael Canning holds his daughter Olivia, 6 weeks old, on Monday outside the Veterans Memorial Building.

Michael Canning was the latest Hollister soldier who returned home to a group of cheering, sign-waving supporters.
Canning is an officer with the U.S. Coast Guard who had been deployed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with an anti-terror task force for the past nine months. It was his third tour of duty since joining the Coast Guard in November 2005.
He returned to Hollister on Monday. Escorted to the Veterans Memorial Building by Police Chief David Westrick, Canning showed up to find a cheering crowd along San Benito Street. Such celebrations, organized by local veterans, are becoming a regular habit in Hollister.
Canning came home to a wife and two young daughters – Emma, a 2-year-old, and Olivia, born just six weeks ago. He had a chance to come home for 10 days in December around her birth as well.
“It was awesome to come home and see a town welcome someone home who has been gone,” said Canning, whose family moved to Hollister from Seaside about a year ago.
While in Cuba, Canning said he didn’t experience the effects of recently improved relations between the long-isolated country and the U.S.
“Really, I don’t really have any (thoughts),” he said. “We go down there to do a job and come home. It didn’t really change us while we were down there.”
His wife Mina was alongside him holding their baby daughter. She said she had a long “honey do” list for him.
“We really appreciate this from Hollister,” she said. “I’m really happy to have Mike home, obviously.”

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