Dozens of people in Winthrop, Massachusetts, lined the streets to surprise a soldier returning home from serving in Afghanistan.
Friends and neighbors lined the bridge into town Saturday to welcome Beau Schlichting back from Afghanistan, with a police escort from Logan Airport used to bring the soldier home.
"It was very overwhelming," said Beau's mother, Holly Schlichting. "Very overwhelming and very surprising because it is cold and people are very busy, so I'm really proud that all of our friends and family came out to support us. We have a great community here."
Schlichting's mother said he jumped to serve as soon as he could, spending the last nine months in Afghanistan.
She said it hasn't been easy for the family, counting the days until he came back.
"Torture, every time the news said something about the Middle East, I was connected to my phone," Holly Schlichting said.
Holding American flags and signs of support, the community often surprises those who come home after serving.
"They do this for anyone coming home, it's not just Beau," his uncle Butch Schlichting said.
The soldier's uncle helped organize the welcome party, and he said, as a retired Marine, he knows just how much it all means to his nephew.
"It's so much for them to see the support of the town," Butch Schlichting said.
With tears of joy and plenty of hugs, Schlichting's friends were happy to welcome him back with the big surprise.
"I think it takes a lot of heart," Mike Titus said. "He’s a very brave person."
Friends and neighbors said the surprise was the least they could do for someone who's given so much.
"We're thrilled that he's here, home, safe and sound," neighbor Terry Lawlor said.
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