Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chaz's Homecoming

June 5, 2011 at 8:49am
So how was our day, absolutely amazing that's how!!!!!!
We got up and moving at the Fisher House, of course I was still pumped from the NKOTBSB concert the night before. I think I had maybe 5 hours of sleep. I felt like a kid at Christmas. I knew we were so close to upwrapping the present and I just wanted to rip the paper off. MSGT Barnes drove with us to the airport. Rideaway was kind enough to allow me to keep the rental van until yesterday. We were able to drive staright up to the plane and load up. Then Barnes took the van back for us and we were off. Our amazing pilots, Bob and Brian, made sure we were more than comfortable. And we were off!
Since everyone wanted to know how the plane ride was, Here's how nice, Chaz and Deryn slept for most of it. Ryann and I rocked out to my ipad and she played angry birds and I attempted to get more of Sookie #11 read. Before I knew it we were 15 minutes out. I thought I was going to blow it at that point. Here I was holding this awesome surprise and trying to play it all off. I remained calm until Deryn looks at me and says, "Mom, I have to go to the bathroom." Within moments, Ryann chimes in too. Since there was no bathroom on the plane, they had to wait!
The plane touched down and I hear Chaz say, "Wow there's a lot of cars. How many planes come in and out of here?" I tunred and said "It's not for the planes, it for you." At that point, I started to choke up, so I had to take a moment. The plane turned and we got a much better view of the crowd. It was such a beautiful site! All these people with their flags and banners were there for my awesome hubby. But unfortunately I had another mission to accomplish. As soon as Brian, got the door open the girls and I bolted for the bathroom. My hubby was so anxious he did not wait for the girls and I to return. So we missed the actual moment of him coming off the plane, but thanks to channel 2, 4 and 5 we got to see it again and again!

My awesome hubby was greeted by our parents, his sister, my brother and the good Lord only knows how many friends, soldiers and other people who wanted to be there. It was incredible to walk with him and our girls through that Patriot Guard line. I saw so many faces and waved and hugged so many people. My goodness it was just amazing. It is so hard to put into words. Yesterday was one of the greatest days of my life. I personally loved it when Chaz said, "I didn't know my wife had this many friends." I knew then he was ok with all of it. As I stood by him and listened to his voice I could hear the appreciation he had for every person there.
Of course the news stopped him and I possibly upset one of them because I cut them off because Chaz needed to get inside. Once we got him out the heat, I got to bring in one of the pilots who flew Chaz out of Zhari and into Kandahar. That was a pretty awesome moment! Nothing like being able to thank and hug a person who made it possible for your hubby to be home. We enjoyed a few moments with him and with our family and some friends.
We then got to load up in my Trevy and we were escorted home by the Clarksville Police Dept and the Patriot Guard riders. One thing is for sure, the neighborhood knew we were home! It was amazing to look in our rear view mirror and see (what seemed like a neverending) the line of bikers riding behind us. Chaz and I both were wondering how many people thought it was a funeral procession. I have only seen something that awesome under those circumstances. It was amazing to be a part of this.

The riders and followers all lined the street around our house. We pulled into a neighborhood decorated in Chaz's honor. Little American flags lined the paths leading into our neighborhood. An American flag, banner, balloons and several smaller flags decorated our yard. We got to see Chaz's ramp for the first time. And Chaz got to set his eyes on our home for the first time. He was pleased to see the grass was cut. Hilarious, isn't it?!
We got out the car and the girls were off to see their friends. Which I just laughed and said, "Well honey, your home and the girls are off and running. It doens't get more normal than that." We visited with everyone for a bit then we thanked them all and retreated inside to enjoy our families. Another one of my favorite moments was when someone said what do what to eat? Chaz says "Beans, taters and cornbread!" Little did he know my mom had come to our house and made it that morning and had it waiting on him! He was thrilled to find out!

Yesterday was a truly amazing day that we will always be extremely thankful for. Thank you to all of your for your support, planning, cheering and for your emails, messages, texts, smiles, hugs and hand shakes. You have no idea how much I appreciate everyone of you helping me pull of the surprise of a lifetime. You all made it better than I ever imagined. Demetria Hale and Nick Steward thank you for being my partners in crime! Tony and Sarah Quatrone thank you for bringing your friends along! Thanks to Angela Edwards and her crew for getting the house welcome ready. Also a big thanks to Jason and the Valentino's crew, Mark from Opertation Troop Aid and Tish from the Fisher Foundation, and CSM St Louis and General Colt from the 101st for rallying addtional support! Thank you just doesn't seem like enough, but I know you all helped for the sheer joy of helping. You all mean so much to us and we are eternally grateful!
Now I am off to get ready for another amazing day for Team Allen!!!!!!!!
God Bless you all and thank you, thank you for all of your support!
=) Jessica

Here is some video from Chaz's Surprise Homecoming!

{Part 1}

{Part 2}

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