It's not every day a military homecoming involves an entire town! But Maricopa, Arizona must not be just any town. The community banded together this past Friday night to welcome home Private First Class Coral Heazlit, who was back just in time for the holiday weekend after spending 10 months in Afghanistan. And they meant business! The result: A HUGE surprise "block" party, which actually stretched down her street and across the town.
Maricopa firefighters drove Heazlit into her neighborhood aboard a fire engine, as dozens of loved ones, neighbors, community members, and city leaders lined the road to thank her for her service, according to local news source AZFamily.com. And when Heazlit stepped off the firetruck, her father, Bill, was there to meet and hug her. He said, "You have no idea how much I missed her." So, so sweet!
You don’t even know how proud I am. I’m so happy she’s home. I’ve missed her so much. I’m so proud of what she’s done for our country.
Awww. Her mother, Wendy, expressed how emotional the experience was for her:
To see her in front of me, I said, "It’s like Christmas 100 times over." She’s in army intelligence. There’s so much she can’t tell me, so I never really knew. I’m just glad she’s home safe.
Of course, Heazlit cried when she was faced with not just her parents but family and friends she hadn't seen in almost a year. She thanked everyone, too, for coming out to support her and expressed just how overwhelmed and happy she was.
And as if all of this wasn't incredible enough, get this: The event was organized by military moms Lisa Durst and Tracy Davis. Davis's own son hasn't yet returned home, so she said, "I’m living vicariously through this soldier’s homecoming because I don’t know when my son will be home." Awww, so amazing.
Here's hoping her son's homecoming -- with all the same outstanding bells and whistles Heazlit got. Because when it comes to welcoming a loved daughter, friend, and neighbor home from serving her country, there's no excuse NOT to pull out all the stops!
Here's a local report on the heartfelt story ...
Image via AzFamily.com