ETX soldier gets extra welcome home surprise - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

ETX soldier gets extra welcome home surprise

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

An East Texas soldier is home with his family after spending almost a year serving our country in Afghanistan.

Friends, family, and even strangers from the group, 'Welcome Home Soldiers,' gathered for Specialist Justin Sanchez's return.

For Justin's parents, the wait seemed like an eternity.

"I was weak in the stomach," said Raphe Sanchez, Justin's dad.

"Your stomach kind of drops , and your heart is beating," said Missy Sanchez. "It's super exciting. You just watch every person come in, and out, and you keep waiting. Then when you see him you can't control yourself."

Everyone anxiously watched passengers come out one by one until Justin finally stepped through.

While many embraced him, others struggled to hold back tears from seeing their hero finally come home.

"I almost cried," said Dale Galyean, Justin's grandfather. "I'm surprised I didn't. A warm feeling came over me. It's just wonderful. The Lord took care of him, and brought him home."

Sanchez's grandfather, who served in the Vietnam war, says he couldn't be more thankful for his grandson's return.

"I know how dangerous it can be, and I'm glad he's here with all his fingers, and toes, and ears," said Galyean.

Sanchez's family surprised him by completely remodeling his truck.

"It was nice. I wasn't expecting it to be as nice as it turned out," said Justin. "It was definitely a surprise seeing it in person."

"He's ecstatic. I think he's a little blown away with the reception," said Galyean.

It was a reception Justin says was bigger than he imaged.

"I called my mom and was like, 'How many people will be there?' and she said only 5 or 6, but then I come, and it's like 100," said Justin. "It's nice seeing people that I don't know come, and support me. It means a lot."

Sanchez says he will spend the next 3 weeks in Tyler with friends, and family before he goes back to Fort Bliss in El Paso.

He says he will probably deploy again in 2 years.

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