A trip home from the war, has Ga. soldier greeting hundreds
The Brunswick (Ga.) News
After a year in Afghanistan and another month of debriefing at Fort Hood, Texas, Troy Chancey has returned to his family in the Golden Isles.
The 22-year-old Army specialist hadn't seen a familiar face in months.
Little did he know, as he walked past the security gates at Brunswick Golden Isles Airport Monday night, that the faces of his family would be joined by hundreds of unfamiliar ones.
Through word of mouth, community service groups learned of the young solider's homecoming and wanted to show appreciation for what his service meant to them.
"If I hadn't been so sleepy and just looked over, I would have seen all of these people there waiting for me," Chancey said. "I would have prepared myself for it, but I couldn't. I was extremely overwhelmed. I didn't even know what to say. What do you say to these people?"
Amid cheers and whistles from well-wishers, Chancey was able to hug his stepmother, Joyce Chancey, and his father, Troy Chancey, for the first time in more than a year.
Time with his family in Brunswick has been short. He previously served an eight-month tour in Iraq.
"It's a little weird to be able to sit down and have time for myself and nothing going on," he said. "It's nice to be around the family and people again. It's such a good feeling. People just want to shake your hand."
It will take some time to adjust to the contrast with military life.
"You get used to the structure and the routine, and relying on the people," he said. "Even though there's structure, you're less restricted. But I've always said I have two families — my home family and my Army family."
Chancey's real family is happy to have him home.
"We're just overwhelmed and so happy to have him back," Joyce Chancey said, still amazed by the number of people showing up to greet his return. "And with all of these people coming out to show him support, it's just great. It drives it home for you."
Her husband was just as moved by the turnout at the airport, especially since the plane landed in Brunswick two hours later than scheduled.
"The dedication of these people showing up and then staying when his flight was delayed was incredible," he said. "I mean, what do you say to them?"
Groups waiting at the airport included Rolling Thunder, the Blue Knights, the Defenders, Christian Motorcycles Association, Southern Riders Association, Free Byrds RC, Golden Isles Veterans Council, Red Knights, Iron Order MC, Marine Corps League, Iron Pigs and American Legion.
"The idea of it just snowballed," Joyce Chancey said. "To do what they did, it was just emotional throughout the night. I was honestly surprised."