Welcome Home Parade for NJ Marine

By DeMarco Morgan
|  Wednesday, Jun 23, 2010  |  Updated 6:32 AM EDT
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Hundreds joined the parade from Keyport to Sandy Hook, to honor a marine who battled the enemy in <a title=Afghanistan and overcame serious injuries. DeMarco Morgan reports." />

Hundreds joined the parade from Keyport to Sandy Hook, to honor a marine who battled the enemy in Afghanistan and overcame serious injuries. DeMarco Morgan reports.

A welcome home parade Tuesday evening not only came as a surprise to its honoree Lance Corporal Kevin Hoffman.

"It's wonderful," said Nora Weddle of Atlantic Heights, NJ. "I got all teared up." It was a shocker for some of the folks here in Monmouth County as well. "Who's coming? We saw the trucks," said Weddle.

They knew it had to be someone very important to get state police escorts.

"It does a lot for your morale," said Hoffman.

And a line of fire trucks with the sound effects to go along with it.

"When you've spent two months laid out on a bed your morale gets taken down," said Hoffman.

Hoffman nearly lost his life when an improvised explosive device hit his humvee in Afghanistan. "My truck ran over it and I was ejected from the vehicle," said Hoffman.

As a result, he suffered back and spinal injuries. "I got a little ways to go," said Hoffman. "But I'm back on my feet and I'm out here with all these people."

To make sure the marine knew his acts of bravery did not go unnoticed, local businesses posted welcome signs for the 21-year-old. But all eyes were on this man - a volunteer firefighter for Seabright.

"He was extremely lucky," said Hoffman's father, Tom Hoffman. "By the grace of God, he survived."

His father is grateful for his son's unwavering commitment to his country and his life.

"Just don't forget about the guys that are still over there," said Hoffman.

The parade for the marine started in the Bayshore and stretched from Keyport to Sandy Hook along Route 36. It was a festive celebration that was put together in a short period of two days. And ended with dozens of handshakes in his hometown.

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