PEORIA, Ill -- There's nothing like being home for the holidays, especially when you've been away serving our country.
Specialist Jalen Swanson received a warm welcome off the plane at the Peoria airport on Wednesday.
He was greeted with flags held by the Patriot Guard and lots of hugs from family and friends.
For nine months, Specialist Swanson has served as a military police officer in Afghanistan. He says he got more than bargained for on his first trip home.
"I was expecting to get in my car and go home, not all of this. It's good to see everybody," Swanson said.
The surprises didn't stop there.
Swanson's family says that the police and fire department would escort Specialist Swanson to his hometown of Wenona, for an open house at the Legion Hall.