Monday, 11/16/09, a surprise welcome Home in N.IL. for LCpl Eddie Perez came together beautifully. It was a crisp Chicago November night with a slight chance of drizzle in the forecast.

LCpl Perez, 22, is on holiday leave as a Marine rifleman with the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, based out of Twenty-nine Palms, Calif. This past April to late September, with other Marines, he helped secure the Iraq-Syria border.

We had met with Eddie’s parents the previous Friday night to lay out a plan for his surprise homecoming. Before Eddie departed 29 palms, he heard a rumor about “Some sort of Parade” for three other Marines that live in his hometown. Those fine young men were also welcomed home by WWR the two weekends prior. Like all great Mom’s, she played it off with skill….

Eddies flight was to arrive at ORD around 3:30pm. We set the welcome home for 6pm allowing a little extra time for a late flight arrival and Chicago traffic. Of course, neither of the two happened (the best laid plans) and the family had to stall three times for gas, food, and the like to arrive on time.

At 6pm Eddie, his new wife Ashley and Mother and Father arrived at the Foxboro Plaza shopping center to be greeted by more than 50 people, friends, relatives, neighbors and even strangers that cheered and waved U.S. and Marine Corps flags. Despite the weather we had about 15 bikes and 30 cages. It was a great turnout.

To share a couple quotes from local newspaper coverage:
“I appreciate everything. Thanks for coming out,” a surprised Perez told the crowd, as his mom, wearing a “Proud Marine Mom” T-shirt, stood nearby, beaming. “I thank you all. I knew my Mom was up to no good.”

“Honk your horns. Flash your hazards, Let the whole town know he is home. It’s a celebration, lets make some noise!!” said Dave Skinner, a Warrior Watch organizer.
(And how they made some noise. We even rolled the newspaper reporters into the escort. More horns, more coverage next time !!!!)

We departed the shopping plaza for Eddie’s second surprise. As we were escorted by St.Charles LEO, Eddie was hanging out the car window snapping pictures on his cell phone of the escort proceeding down main street. Good thing it was a low speed escort…..

As the escort turned onto Eddie’s street, PD sirens blaring, bikes revving engines, we were greeted by what seemed to be the whole neighborhood and additional close friends waiting at his home. Even after we parked and dismounted our Bikes, cars from the escort were still proceeding by making noise like crazy.  What an exhilarating event.

We presented Eddie with our coin, mission posts and our honor beads. After some group photos and thanks for his service, we mounted up and rode off into the chilly night.

When Eddie turned 21 last year, he signed up with the Marines. He graduated from the School of Infantry earlier this year, got married March 28, and shipped out April 21.

He will return to his base after Thanksgiving. His next overseas assignment starts in October in Afghanistan.

We Greatly Appreciate and Honor another American Hero!

In gratitude,
Dave Skinner WWR Member
11/16 WH Eddie Perez -Warrior’s Watch