Local soldier gets hero’s welcome after returning from Middle East

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 1:16 AM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A community gave a hero’s welcome Tuesday night to a soldier returning home from the Middle East.

It had been seven months since Captain David Cottrill with the West Virginia Army National Guard had been with his wife and kids after being deployed overseas in January.

He was greeted at Yeager Airport Tuesday night by his wife Devon.

Then as the couple neared their home in South Point, Capt. Cottrill was surprised with a fire truck and police escort. Fire crews had him put on a firefighter uniform and board one of their trucks.

As the escort entered Cottrill’s neighborhood, they were greeted with dozens of neighbors lining the street waving American flags and cheering.

Mrs. Cottrill brought out their two sons, 6 and 2, who didn’t know their father would be returning Tuesday night.

Capt. Cottrill exited the fire truck, surprising his boys before sharing a long embrace in their driveway.

“Honestly it was on par with when I got to hold each of them after they were born,” Cottrill said. “It was that powerful, because I’ve been gone so long. It was very emotional.”

Mrs. Cottrill says they can’t disclose exactly where in the Middle East he’d been stationed but did say it was not Afghanistan.

In light of events that unfolded this week in that part of the world, Capt. Cottrill says being safe at home feels that much sweeter.

“To be able to come home and be with my family and take care of my family when there’s so much turmoil around the world, it’s an amazing thing,” Cottrill said. “I can’t thank the West Virginia Guard enough for taking care of its soldiers and allowing me to be here.”

Cottrill also said he was grateful for the rain, which helped mask the tears.

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