FORNEY (CBSDFW.COM) — A Vietnam veteran, who came home to be on hospice care, had a surprise waiting for him in his Forney neighborhood.
Friends, family and complete strangers lined the street to give Jerry Thompson the homecoming he never received after the war, where he served as a combat corpsman.
They came from near and far to show love and respect for a veteran who’s never received a welcome like this before.
“I’m completely overwhelmed by all the love and support shown,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s daughter, Missy Rodriguez, said while her father doesn’t talk much about his service, he did tell his family his homecoming wasn’t a warm one.
And as he was returning home for hospice care, Rodriguez wanted her father to feel loved by his country — she reached out on facebook and the response was nothing like she expected.
“I just asked for the community to come together and to have eight people, 10 people standing on the sidewalk, and I don’t even know how many people are here, I’m so thankful,” she said.
Nine-year-old Avery Grace was one attendee of Thompson’s homecoming.
“I just think all military people are the best,” Grace said.
And fellow veteran, Gary Waller, said he believes that the Vietnam-era veterans are the reason he and many others “get more respect now.”
The street was lined with a patriotic display — lifting up a hometown hero. And as Thompson was brought out, strangers greeted him, offering words of encouragement and thanks.
“My dad is a hero, and he never knew it,” Rodriguez said. “He knows it today.”