DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - It's a Mississippi soldier's first day home from Iraq. He's back in Byhalia in time for the holidays, but also just in time to fulfill a promise he made almost one year ago.
Last November, Army National Guard First Sergeant David Spencer took part in the Dixie Thunder Run motorcycle ride to Tunica. It's a fundraiser for the military and Sergeant Spencer won the grand prize, a very expensive military tribute motorcycle.
He never had the chance to ride it, though, because he was deployed to Iraq immediately after the event. Before he left, he promised to lead this year's Dixie Thunder Run on that bike. This Saturday, November 19th, he will.
"The feeling is amazing," Sgt. Spencer says. "I'm still tired. I've still got some jet lag and am still trying to get my feet back on the ground. I got in last night and I think I was in bed by 8:30 and up at 4 o'clock this morning."
He's home, but there's no time for rest. Sgt. Spencer has places to be. He's getting his year-old motorcycle ready for it's first ride leading this weekend.
"I never thought I could win anything," he tells abc24.com. "Who thinks you could win a hundred thousand dollar bike? Not me. So I won the bike and I'm home fixing to ride it in a big rally tomorrow."
When he does, Sergeant Spencer will fulfill the promise he made before he was deployed. It's taken a little bit of magic to get here.
"The military flights just happened to fall just right for us to get on the flight we came in on."
He came home with a different unit, arriving earlier than expected. And Sergeant Spencer says this time, he's home for good.
"I have no intentions of ever going back," he tells abc24.com.
This past year spent in Iraq, the last he'll serve in what's been a 26 year career. He's already planning a retirement doing what he loves.
"Riding the motorcycle, and maybe growing some hair," he laughs.
The Dixie Thunder Run leaves Southaven Southern Thunder Harley Davidson at 10:30 Saturday morning. Riders head to Tunica's Horseshoe Casino.