Soldier's homecoming draws crowd at Rochester airport
Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Delaney stepped off a plane Saturday night to a homecoming welcome like he has never received before.
Delaney, who recently completed a 14-month stint that included nine months in Iraq along the Syrian border, has served four tours in the Middle East in his 17-year career in the Army. Each of the other times he returned home, he was met at the airport by his family and perhaps some friends.
But Saturday night was a little different. After deplaning, Delaney was welcomed by American Legion groups, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, law enforcement and first responders, and Rochester City Lines, his employer when he is stateside. "For the first responders, they put in a lot of hours, and for them to come out is special," said Terry Throndson, who made the calls that rallied the folks to welcome Delany home.
"This is all successful because people show up," Throndson said.
Throndson said he has helped organize other welcome home greetings for members of the military, but Saturday's response for Delany was the largest he has seen. The only hitch with Saturday's event was the time of Delany's flight, which kept changing during the week as Throndson organized the event.
In the end, Delany made it home Saturday night instead of Sunday, which meant seeing his wife and children that much sooner.
"He'd been deployed for 14 months," Throndson said. "One more day is a big, big deal. Jeremy was taken in very much by (the welcome home)."