After deployments in the Middle East, 70 Oklahoma National Guard soldiers are safely home.
Among them was Muskogee's Specialist Joseph Sambrano; and Tuesday night, about 50 people gave him a hero’s welcome, leaving him nearly speechless, and with a big smile, after his nine-month deployment.
Veteran Victor Lezama understands the sacrifices soldiers go through both on and off the battlefield.
"I've deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan three times. I know what it's like to come home to nothing sometimes. I've seen some of my soldiers that didn't have those families. To have that family bond, it’s a big thing to come home to, family and friends,” he said.
That's why he and many others decided to help organize a homecoming for Sambrano.
"At the end of the day, our soldiers, you know, they are fighting overseas for our liberties, and the least we can do is show him a good homecoming," Lezama said.
Community members, law enforcement and other emergency responders gathered to show their support, appreciation and gratitude for Sambrano.
Police picked him up and brought him to the homecoming via a police escort.
With a smile on his face, and almost speechless, Sambrano arrived to whaling sirens and an excited crowd.
"It's actually pretty nice. First time in four deployments this has happened - just glad to be home after nine months," he said.
He will be returning for a fifth deployment in the future.