Local marine Tomy Parker came home to Montana for the first time since being injured in Afghanistan in December. In that explosion he lost both legs and most of his left hand.
After the big greeting at the airport in Missoula he had an escort of police cars and fire trucks and ambulances (representing all the various services along the way) as well as dozens and dozens of private vehicles. He took detours through Arlee and Mission and went all the way to Polson so everyone could welcome him and thank him.
And along the way, fellow soldiers and families and kids and community members lined up like this. Some of us for hours because a time frame for something like this is a little hard to figure, with all the people who wanted to greet him along the way and the weather delays on top of that. (We've still got a Montana winter going on! Many inches of fresh new snow today, limited visibility & not-so-great traveling conditions due to the still-falling snow.) People along the streets sent texts and checked facebook updates and every few minutes someone in the crowd would give everyone an update of the current location of the procession. Little kids played in the snow and pointed out all the best messages they'd written on all the posters papering the business walls.
There were over two hundred cars in the line by the time Tomy's procession made it up past Ronan. For those of you not familiar with Western Montana geography, this is a nearly 70 mile drive. Some involved in all this know Tomy personally, many don't. But the whole Reservation came out to support him, lining the streets of our little towns and driving beside him all those miles back to Ronan.
Pretty amazing. Just as it should've been.