??No I had no expectation of this. I thought I would see my family, maybe some church members. But to have this kind of reception, this many people, was absolutely amazing. Totally unexpected.??
That was Lt. Beau Baer??s reaction after stepping off the plane and setting foot on Amarillo soil for the first time since his deployment. Family members, friends, community members and America Supports You Texas lined the hallway of the Rick Husband International Airport to welcome Lt. Baer home.
??I don??t think I could describe it. I mean, my stomach was just dropping out, tears were coming to my eyes, um, words, just trying to do anything I could to keep from busting out in tears,?? said Lt. Baer. ??It??s an overflow of emotions. Joy. It??s just pretty amazing.??
President of America Supports You Texas, Larry Lewis, said this is one of the largest turnouts he has seen in Amarillo for a soldier??s welcome home rally.
While Lt. Baer was welcome home to plenty of love, hugs, and tears, another family was preparing to wave goodbye to their family member. A young Marine walked through the security gates for his deployment; something he and his brother, Victor Revelez, had been talking about excitedly.
??He??s been pretty excited,?? he said. ??But I??m scared for him. I really support him and I??m excited for his deployment but at the same time, I??m pretty sad just letting a loved one go somewhere dangerous,?? said Revelez.
And in the crowd was a stranger to the group, a non-Amarillo resident. Carl Wentworth was only passing through Amarillo as a part of his trek from Boston to Los Angeles in an effort to raise awareness for veterans. His Facebook page, ??Walk for Heroes?? has garnered over six thousand likes since he began his walk on Veterans Day. He said his father was his inspiration as well as the soldiers and veterans he??s met all over the country.
??Seeing the homeless veterans on the side of the road panhandling for dollars, I??d ask them what their story was and after listening to them, how they have to fight for benefits and stuff like that, that made me want to walk across the country to bring awareness. I think we need to do more for our veterans,?? said Wentworth.
When asked what he thought about getting to be a part of Sunday??s welcome home rally for Lt. Baer, Wentworth smiled and said he thought it was amazing.
??This was absolutely amazing. I think they all should be treated like this when they get home.??