Waukesha soldier given hero's welcome at Mitchell International Airport
Cody Holyoke reports Video by wtmj.comvideo
WAUKESHA- Memorial Day served as a happy homecoming for a Waukesha soldier back from Afghanistan.
Private First Class Ricky Kafer was surprised to see dozens of friends and family members waiting for him, as he received a hero's welcome as he walked into a terminal at Mitchell International Airport.
"I wasn't really expecting anybody," Kafer told TODAY'S TMJ4. "Last I knew, there were only a couple people coming. This is awesome."
The homecoming is a relief for the 20-year-old Waukesha man. He spent 12 straight months overseas -- part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
It never got easy for mom Rebecca, who organized the surprise at the airport. Retired military herself, she recognizes the special meaning of a homecoming on Memorial Day. "For us to be able to bring him home, it's just an amazing feeling," said Rebecca Wood. "I tell everybody he was a miracle the day he was born, and it's a miracle he's doing what he's doing, and it's a miracle he'll be here today."
Ricky's time in Wisconsin is a nice change of pace for fiance Anna, who has no problems sharing the moment with her friends and future family.
"He's very modest about everything he's done, and for everybody being here, I think it really shows how proud of him everybody really is," exclaimed Anna Anderson.
Kafer will be home for 30 days and he'll be busy as he's getting married next month. Then it's back to work, serving out the last two years of his enlistment.