Ride Report for Ride Captain Freedom Diver

It was a cool brisk Friday morning with the seasons first snowfall with about a 1/2 inch accumulation. We met at the Edens Plaza in Wilmette at 1100 hrs.  Lt. Smigielski, and his wife Tina arrived to our group and were welcomed in WWR style, after a short meet and greet, we proceeded north towards the Illinois, Wisconsin border town of Wadsworth, IL.  We were led out by a Lake County Sheriff Dept. Command Car . Along the 25 mile run North we were joined by a North Chicago PD (1 squad car), and then Gurnee PD (2 squads) & Gurnee FD (1 engine company), and finally the Woodside FD (1 engine company) the rest of the way to St. Patricks school in Wadsworth.  When the escort turned into the parking lot Lt. Smigielski just couldn’t believe his eyes. There lined up outside the school were over 500 students each waving an American flag,but the best thing was when his two boys realized it was their Dad they were welcoming home. After almost being tackled by his children Lt. Smigielski tried to find the words to thank all of the people who came there to welcome him home.  Lt. Smigielski was given his WWR challenge coin, which he said he was just as honored to have as the coin he received from his floor hockey opponent Command General David Petreaus. Lt. Smigielski and his wife Tina thanked the WWR group, and then proceeded to go into the crowd of children and thank them all for the “Best welcome home he could ever have expected.

This was the best Welcome home I have ever experienced and his kids running out to meet him as he exited the car was GREAT. All of the Networks were present and recorded this event as well. NBC 5, CBS 2, Fox 32, and WGN 9. All were there filming.

Freedom Diver