Dozens of people waving American flags lined an Oak Ridge street as Sergeant Stanley Neal Martin rode home.
(WBIR-Oak Ridge)The community of Oak Ridge spent the weekend preparing to welcome a soldier home from Afghanistan.
Sgt. Martin was completely surprised by the homecoming the whole community had planned for him.
Sgt. Stanley Neal Martin has been deployed for almost one year.
"It was difficult. I missed my family a lot. I missed a lot with my boys. And there was no break in the middle to where I could come home and catch up. So it was difficult," said Sgt. Martin.
On his way to his Oak Ridge home Monday morning, Sgt. Martin was greeted by dozens of people lining the street waiting to give him a hero's welcome.
"I love being a soldier. I love being able to serve my country, and to come home and be honored in turn is, there's just no words that can express how well that makes you feel and how loved that makes you feel and how worthwhile it makes the job," said Sgt. Martin.
Police and fire departments were also there Monday, as well as people who did not know Sgt. Martin. They made signs and held American flags, cheering as he drove by.
"Because I got to see a soldier coming home, and it just feels really nice. I just thought I needed to come out here. It just wouldn't seem right to not welcome home a person who for 10 years has been fighting for our freedom," said one of the younger people along the streets.
Sgt. Martin has served in the military for almost 17 years. This is the second time he has been deployed.
He's been in Afghanistan for 10 months with the 251st Military Police Company out of Lexington, Tennessee.