A hero’s welcome from the town of Williams for one of their own, Staff Sgt. Alejandro Jauregui.
“Defninitely was not expecting this. Pretty nice, too,” the sergeant said, surrounded by hundreds who gathered downtown.
Hug after hug, one embrace after another, they thanked Jauregui for all he’s done — four combat tours, two in Iraq and two in Afghanistan — where he lost his legs in an IED explosion.
“What I want people to see is, welcome home a hero. He lost his legs, I just want to welcome him home, like a hero,” his childhood friend Juan Loza said, who helped organize the homecoming.
Vietnam veterans remember the days when it wasn’t like that.
“It’s about time,” Vietnam vet Steve Corbin said, overcome with emotion, and unable to finish his sentence. “… I’m sorry.”
There were those who may not have even known Jauragui, but shed a tear.
One woman, embraced him tightly. Her own son never made it back home.
“We have a wonderful community. When something happens, everyone gathers together. We are a family as a whole,” said Andi Armstrong, who also helped organize the homecoming.
Jauragui’s family was there with open arms at the airport, his mother, grandmother and sister, all proud and all calling it a miracle that he survived.
With his wife and children by his side, including a new daughter, the sergeant said he was proud to serve, volunteering for infantry.
“I knew what I was getting into. I was well aware of the risk. But I still love my job, and I’d do it again,” he added. “I have no regrets.”