A wounded warrior’s heartwarming return home

Posted at 5:38 PM, Nov 01, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-02 06:18:38-04

Williamsburg,  Va. - A Williamsburg Wounded Warrior returned home today to a hero’s welcome a year after he stepped on a bomb.

NewsChannel 3’s Mike Mather was with his family as they met him at the airport and joined the motorcade to the family’s home.

First Lt. Rafael Chico-Lugo stepped on a bomb. Surgeons removed his left leg below the knee. He spent a year in Texas enduring a dozen surgeries. But today he came home. His mother could hardly contain herself.

“I am so excited. I’ve been jumping up and down all this week, not being able to sleep or eat,” she says.

Hundreds cheered his arrival at the Newport News/Williamsburg airport. With a new prosthetic leg, he walked into the terminal to handshakes and hugs.  The months needed to take these steps, to adjust to the fit of his new leg, have been difficult and painful and now, successful.

Outside the soldier and his family met a motorcade. Police and deputies joined Patriot Guard Riders for the thunderous parade from the airport to his family’s home in Williamsburg.

Friends and neighbors by the dozen gathered to greet him. He shook every hand.

“All the pain that we went through in the last year, now we can see happiness,” his father says.