LANGHORNE, Pa. — Military deployment is hard on the soldiers who serve around the world and on the families back home who worry about them.
So, this year, the Phillies made a big deal for Upper Darby native Joe Andreacchio and his girlfriend, Corrie Gorman.
On Friday morning, three days after Andreacchio, 29, a sergeant with the 333d Engineering Company, Army Reserve, out of Reading, returned from a nine-month tour of Afghanistan, the Phillies paid him a special visit.
As he chowed down on a breakfast of bagels and coffee at the house of Gorman's parents in Langhorne, Andreacchio was shocked to see a crowd gathering in the front yard.
"I saw like 20 people, and there were cameras all over," said Andreacchio, a two-time veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, who lives with Gorman in Ewing, Mercer County.
It wasn't just any crowd. Among the throng was former Phillies pitcher Tommy Greene, Liberty USO president Joe Brooks, several Phillies ball girls, and Phoebe Phanatic (mother of the Phillie Phanatic).
They were there to formally present Andreacchio and Gorman with their season tickets for 2014. Every year, the Phillies make a big deal of presenting the tickets to a special someone.
This year, it was Andreacchio.
"It just felt right," said Derek Schuster of the team's sales department. "He seems like a great guy, and he's a Phillies fan."
During the presentation, Andreacchio chatted with Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels from Florida via FaceTime, and Greene signed a gift bat.
The Phillies have often played a role in Andreacchio's life, he said. He and Gorman met at a Phillies game in June 2010 when they were introduced by mutual friends.
"Even on the darkest days of the deployment," Gorman said, "we could talk about what the season was looking like."
And Andreacchio is just getting warmed up. He and Gorman are leaving next week for a visit to Florida to watch the Phillies in spring training.