Naperville Marine gets 'rock star' treatment

December 6, 2009 8:19:08 PM PST
A 22-year-old veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan was surprised with a special welcome home Sunday night in west suburban Naperville.A fire engine and the Warriors Watch riders arrived to honor Marine Corporal Austin Smith, who is on leave from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina for the birth of his son, which could happen this week.

Corporal Smith received hugs and gifts, and the future mom, and his own mom, received bracelets.

"This is amazing. I never thought anyone would ever do anything like this for me. I just signed a piece of paper, and never thought all this would come of it," Smith said.

"We were just really excited that he'll be here for the birth of his little boy," said Katelin Burns, the mother-to-be. "Perhaps [a future Marine]."

" I am so eternally grateful to God for bringing my son home, safe, the way he left," said Cody Smith, the Marine's mother.

"Everything they do for our country, we feel the least we can do is treat them like a rock star for an hour or two," said the Warriors Watch Riders' Doug Askren.

Askren said a payoff for the riders is the joy their welcome brings to the honoree and family.


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