Soldier homecoming just in time for Christmas

Published: .
Updated: .

It was an early Saturday morning for one Fishers family and dozens of their friends. They all waited at Indianapolis International Airport for a very special arrival: their son who came home after serving a year in Afghanistan.

It was a morning of hugs and kisses and tears of joy.

"He's coming back home today. And we're really thankful he's coming back home and that God protected him," said Jim Roschi who waited with a few dozen people around 5 Saturday morning.

In less than an hour, the crowd had grown to nearly 100. "A lot of people that are friends of Jarad decided to come out and welcome him home," explained Gayle Roschi.

The proud parents, along with their friends finally got what they've been waiting for the past year: 24-year-old Jarad Roschi walked through the terminal and into a crowd of well-wishers just before 6am.

"Thank you so much for coming out! I'm kind of in shock right now! I did not expect this," said Jarad to the crowd.

An Army Specialist, Roschi spent the past year in Afghanistan, serving in an intelligence unit. Now, with handshakes and hugs, he had the opportunity to thank some of the people who supported him so much.

"I got cards and packages from people I didn't even know, but all those care packages and letters and e-mails go a long way over there," Roschi explained.

If Christmas is about giving and receiving, this family has done both. "I'm honored to have him as a brother, and I'm grateful for the service that he's had for our country," said Jenna Roschi, Jarad's sister. "But I'm happy to have him home."

"Home for the holidays" may be an overused cliche, but for this family, it means everything.