Lindsay welcomes soldier home from tour in Iraq War

By Mo Moore

After the long flight home and a drive from Los Angeles, Private 1st Class Tyler Williams returned home to Lindsay from his first tour in Iraq with in the 82nd Airborne Division only to be met with homecoming like no other.

Williams was greeted by a police and firetruck escort with sirens blaring, a crowd waving flags and holding banners and his entire family waiting just to see his face. It seemed that most of Lindsay had turned out to welcome the soldier home.

&#8220We're just happy he's home and safe,” said mother Shelly Williams. &#8220We're so proud of him. He's chosen to be there and serve his country. He's doing what he wants to do.”

Williams is home for 15 days, after which he will return for his second tour in Iraq. Until then the many loved ones and community members will be gracing the Williams family's doorstep.

&#8220I can't even begin to describe Tyler's homecoming,” said Tyler's grandmother Kathryn Williams. &#8220It's an answered prayer. And all this, that's why you live in a small town. The love reaches from one person to another to another.”

Even Lindsay Mayor Ed Murray waved a flag as Williams' car drove by.

&#8220I think most people even if they don't agree with the war, know that we as the community need to support the families and recognize the duty that they have done,” said Murray. &#8220These guys are doing great work over there.”

While Williams is able to keep in touch through phone calls and Myspace.com all can't wait till he is home for good. Williams joined the military after graduating Lindsay High School in 2005. He was first sent to Iraq Jan. 4. Williams had wanted to serve in the military since early on in high school.

&#8220Tyler had told me that he'd been thinking about joining for a long time,” said life long friend Jordan Blue, before Williams joined the service. &#8220It was what he wanted to do since he was a sophomore and I knew he was going to do a great job.”

The word about the homecoming celebration had spread like wildfire throughout the community all day. At Lindsay High School, where William's sister Hannah still attends text messages were sent around informing students and facility.

Williams parked and was literally mobbed by the crowd of well wishers as he exited the car. After a multitude of hugs, tears and handshakes the crowd gathered to pray over him.

&#8220We're so thankful to have him home. And we're praying for Tyler as he goes back there and for his friends still serving there,” said Lindsay Church of the Nazarene Pastor Steve McClanahan.

Williams will return to Fort Brag May 15. The soonest he will be able to return home again will be February of next year.

Lindsay City Councilmen Estaban (Steve) Velasquez said, &#8220We need to celebrate like this every time a soldier comes home.”

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