After his yearlong tour in Afghanistan, Scott Hartsell, associate administrator at Brooksville Regional Hospital, was greeted in the hospital's cafeteria with familiar faces and tasty treats Tuesday morning during his second day back at work.
Colonel Hartsell was recalled and deployed to Afghanistan in April 2009 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
previously served in Iraq in 2004.
Since Hartsell joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1994, he said the adjustment to leaving and returning home has become easier and easier.
"There's hasn't been too much adjustment because, being in the service for so long, it's always coming and going," Hartsell
"It's one life."
For the past year, Hartsell
has been acting as a liaison in Afghanistan, representing the Marine Corps
Hartsell said he has used the skills he has obtained from working with Hernando Health Care since 2007 to develop his skills as a colonel.
"I knew we needed help and I believe in helping to fight terrorism outside of the country," he
As part of his
duties in Afghanistan, Hartsell
helped in efforts to stabilize the Afghan government, people and society, which included aiding in eradicating the production of poppy seeds to opium, used to help fund al-Qaida.
"We are engaged in stopping the processing of the poppy flower and keeping it from getting out of the country while also not alienating the local farmers," he
"We have dramatically impacted the opium production and that makes me feel good."
, whose oldest son is currently serving his
first tour in Afghanistan, said it is still as dangerous as ever and is unsure of how much longer the United States will be in Afghanistan, but the time spent there is a necessary, long-term investment.
"I was helping protect our freedom for my family and the good people here," Hartsell
will retire next year and has no plans of returning to duty.
Serving has taught him to appreciate the small things usually taken for granted.
"Seeing the blessings I have here is the real adjustment," he