What was supposed to be a dinner with the family turned into a surprise welcome home party and parade for Egg Harbor Township native and Army Medic Shannon Tees.
"It was definitely a surprise. I get up for a second and turn around and there's people saying welcome home so it definitely was a big surprise and very touching," said Tees.
Shannon was stationed in Afghanistan for the last nine months where she worked as a medic, often on the front lines. Shannon surprised her family by returning home October 7th, but Thursday night was her turn to be surprised. After receiving a hero’s escort home, an informal ceremony was held right on her front lawn.
"It definitely means a lot, the support has been tremendous, the whole 9 months was a very long and hard 9 months," said Tees.
Shannon’s husband, who is also in the Army, and was given a similar surprise welcome party in June, watched the entire evening from Skype as Shannon’s mother, the daughter of a Navy veteran, and her brother, a Marine Corps veteran, reflected on the last nine months and breathed a sigh of relief to have their loved one home safe and sound.
"I hadn’t cried since she came back,” said Shannon’s mother Tammy McLeish.
“I watched that plane come in on the base and I hadn’t cried and I’m starting to get a little. I had to find inner strength I didn’t know I had.”
"To have her come home safely and having served the country, that brings up a lot of pride,” said Shannon’s brother James Giroud.
“I’m just glad to have her home."
Shannon will not be home for long and will return to her base in Texas this Saturday. And between flowers, pictures and plenty of hugs Thursday night, the thrill of being home will soon set in.
"Probably later tonight,” said Tees.
“I'll be laying down and be like wow, that was amazing."
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