ORLANDO, Fla. - When Private First Class Christian Ezpinoza's U.S. Army unit deployed for their latest mission, he had no idea it would be keeping him right here in the U.S.
"We expected when we hear deployment to go overseas," he said. "Coming and helping out people in the states, that's a whole new experience."
And not just the U.S., but the Valencia College COVID Vaccine site, an easy drive to his Volusia County hometown of Pierson. "It's a small, country town," Espinoza said.
He said he felt lucky to be serving so close to home.
"They had been putting out that it was going to be multiple states, but Florida was an option. I was like, it would be nice to go back home and help the community that I grew up around," he said.
Ezpinoza is a trained combat medic. He said he was happy to give back to his community.
"I'm honestly happy to be back in my community, home state," he said, "and helping give back to the people that I grew up around with or helped out when I was working here."
People getting the shots said they were thankful to the military for helping. "I was surprised when I came in and saw so many servicemen and women. I'm happy they're here and grateful for what they're doing for us," said educator Ron Cope.
Espinoza said it was a great way to serve his country.
"It's good to give back to the community and see people be so grateful knowing we're out here supporting them and not just going overseas," he said.