By Dan Wing
Willingboro, NJ (CBS) — Hundreds of friends, family, neighbors and veterans came together in South Jersey on Sunday to help welcome home an Army Staff Sergeant returning from his second tour of duty in Iraq.
A couple dozen motorcycles escorted Staff Sergeant Richard Jose from a diner in Westampton, New Jersey to a party where nearly 100 people gathered to welcome the 18-year U.S. Army vet home. They also presented Jose with various honors and awards, which made the homecoming all the more meaningful.
“Being home is very exciting right now,” said Jose. “Because I missed my wife’s birthday, I almost missed my son’s birthday, so it’s a wonderful feeling.”
Juliet Jose is happy to spend a holiday with her husband.
“It’s something I can never, never forget. This is awesome,” she said. “He’s been away from us for almost a year, and to know he’s back home to celebrate this with us, I’m just so happy.”
The event was also very meaningful for Jose’s daughter Danielle, who also serves in the military.
“If I ever do get to go to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, anywhere our nation needs us, I would hope this would be for me as well,” said Danielle. ” So I’m very grateful.”
Staff Sergeant Jose was also presented with a one-thousand-dollar check from the Wish Upon A Hero Foundation, which organized the party after Juliet posted a wish on the organization’s webpage.