Christmas came a little late for the family and loved ones of Sgt. Jeffrey Ozburn, but they are ringing the New Year in right, with the 25-year-old soldier home from a 12-month tour in Afghanistan.
Ozburn, 25, a graduate of Social Circle High School, left for his most recent tour in January 2012, prior to that, he was in Kosovo for a peacemaking mission. The Oxford native enlisted in the National Guard after two years at Clayton State in order to finish his degrees, but according to mom Janie Moyers, really enjoyed the work he was doing in the military.
"His favorite part is that he gets to actively help people," Moyers said. "He was a good kid, never in any trouble, and he helped me a lot. He's always been a helper so I'm not surprised that he went into the military."
But for Moyers and Ozburn's girlfriend of nearly two years, 23-year-old Taylore Canady, they are just happy to have their favorite sergeant home. Moyers plans to make his favorite dinner of beef stew and open Christmas presents. Both women just can't wait to hug him, especially after a near miss during the year when the hut he was sleeping in was blown up. The threat was too close for comfort.
"He took it in stride, but I cried my eyes out for a couple of days!" said Canady. "I'm sure it's been tough for him, but he's not a complainer. He's a total sweetheart, he's the type of guy who would give you the shirt off his back."
"It was terrifying for me as his mother," said Moyers. "I go in panic mode, but he's just like, ‘It ain't no big thing, Mama.'"
Ozburn arrived home over the weekend, and although both his mother and his girlfriend were anxious to put their arms around him, Moyers made it clear that she came first.
"Just to hug him and enjoy Christmas with him is going to be my biggest gift. There's no fighting [over who gets to hug him first], I get first choice. It's a really nice way to start my New Year!"