City of Maricopa surprises soldier with homecoming celebration - New York News

City of Maricopa surprises soldier with homecoming celebration

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MARICOPA, Ariz. -

A soldier's homecoming from Afghanistan is always an emotional moment. But for a soldier from the city of Maricopa, her homecoming was more than just a moment. They turned it into an event -- and it was all a surprise.

Private First Class Coral Heazlit knew that after being away from her family for more than a year serving in Afghanistan, returning home would be special.

"I couldn't sleep last night I haven't seen her in 15 months," says dad Bill Heazlit.

But she would never have imagined the homecoming the city of Maricopa has planned for her tonight.

"This community to do what they are doing for us or for Coral, I don't know what to say."

"We have a big surprise for her at the fire station the fire truck is going to bring her in, the boy scouts are going to be here and we are going to line the streets and make this a huge homecoming for her," says Lisa Durst.

Not just friends and family -- but an entire community planning a hero's welcome home.

"I miss her and give her the biggest hug you could ever imagine," says Heazlit. "But this she has no idea about."

Surprise number one. Meet her dad at the Maricopa Fire Department.

"I missed you so much, glad to have you home, love you!"

Then after some tears and hugs -- a big time ride down a street lined with American flags, signs, and scouts saluting her -- where more family and friends await.

With an entire community out to say hello, the hugs and tears seem to never end.

"I didn't realize I would have this much support for just one person," says PFC Coral Heazlit. "It's so overwhelming, I'm just happy everyone is supporting me. I just don't know how to thank you all for supporting me. Thank you guys for supporting me I didn't expect this but thank you."

Coral Heazlit says she is still thinking about her fellow soldiers who are still in Afghanistan, but she is definitely happy to be home and happy not to be working 12 hour shifts.

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