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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — The town of Rancho Murieta came together with a parade to welcome their hometown hero, Lance Corporal Andrew Brocklehurst.

The 24-year-old Marine was serving in Kabul, Afghanistan, when the deadly terrorist attack happened at the airport, killing 13 US troops.

The family invited FOX40 exclusively to be there, when several hundred supporters came out along the parade route as a fire engine escorted him to the family home on Wednesday.

Countless people came to welcome Brocklehurst home, including many businesses.

Despite COVID-19 and the hardships that come with the pandemic, they closed their doors early to welcome their hero.

“It’s great to see the community come together and honor a great man coming back,” said Gary Philips of the Patriot Guard Riders.

“We’re so proud of him,” said family friend and retired Navy pilot Terry Hanson who has known Brocklehurst for 20 years. “When he was about 1 year old, crawling on the rug.”

Brocklehurst’s family had planned a surprise homecoming for him, but as word spread of his return, the community of Rancho Murieta wanted to help give him the kind of welcome they said the local Marine deserved.

“The Rancho Murieta community came out and support,” said Brocklehurst’s father, Ted. “I’m just, I’m overwhelmed.” 

Signs were posted out front of the town’s elementary school that could be seen by people entering Rancho Murieta with more signs outside the shopping center.

A fire engine, with Brocklehurst on board, eventually made its way to the family home.

“Yeah, I didn’t know about most of it. I thought we were just going to drive through to the house,” Brocklehurst told FOX40. “Thank you for your support and greeting me home.” 

“It’s overwhelming,” Ted described. “A mix of emotions.”

The family told FOX40 that Brocklehurst’s return is bittersweet because, while they’re so grateful that he made it back home safely, others did not.

“The loss of the 13, especially local loss, Sgt. Gee and the injured Marine, Andrew Taylor. My heart goes out to them,” Ted said. 

Brocklehurst said he plans to spend his week-and-a-half at home with family and friends before taking off to Camp Pendleton.

“Just the fact that he’s home safe,” Ted said. “I just, I’m going to cherish this moment.” 

Brocklehurst’s family hopes the public can help the Folsom Marine, Tyler Andrew, who injured in the terrorist attack at the airport in Kabul by donating here.