Community Gives Soldier Returning from Afghanistan Homecoming Surprise

The number of American casualties has fallen dramatically since the end of 2014 when Afghan forces took over from US-led NATO combat troops to secure the country AFP
AFP
KATHERINE RODRIGUEZ

Dozens of residents in a Massachusetts town lined up with signs on a bridge Saturday to welcome back an Army soldier returning home from a nine-month tour in Afghanistan.

Beau Schlichting arrived in his hometown of Winthrop from Logan International Airport, flanked by a police escort and surrounded by members of his hometown welcoming him with American flags and signs in support of his return home.

“It was very overwhelming,” Beau’s mother, Holly Schlichting, told Boston 25 News. “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.”

But for members of this Massachusetts town, welcoming home those who served our country is just par for the course.

“They do this for anyone coming home, it’s not just Beau,” Beau’s uncle, Butch Schlichting, said.

Butch, a retired Marine, organized the surprise welcome home celebration for his nephew because he knows how much it means to be welcomed back into a community after serving overseas.

“It’s so much for them to see the support of the town,” Butch Schlichting said.

Friends and neighbors who participated in the surprise homecoming said they were “thrilled” they could do their small part for a man who gave so much.

“We’re thrilled that he’s here, home, safe and sound,” said Terry Lawlor, one of Beau’s neighbors.

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