SCHERERVILLE | Sirens, the roar of Patriot Guard motorcycles and the cheers of neighbors in the Saratoga subdivision announced the arrival Thursday morning of a Marine corporal for a 10-day visit with family and friends.
Neighbors of Cyndi and Ed Vanek in this close-knit community organized the homecoming celebration for their son, Cpl. Eddie Vanek.
There were banners and signs, an avenue of American flags and salutes to the United States Marine Corps.
Eddie Vanek, 22, enlisted in the Marines in October 2010 for a five-year stint and has been deployed with the Marine Expeditionary Unit to hot spots all over the world. Those assignments have included dealing with pirates based in Somalia, he said.
“I always wanted to be a Marine. I like the challenge,” Eddie Vanek said.
Five Star Limousine owner Nick Mihaljevic donated a white stretch limo that whisked family members to O’Hare Airport for the Marine’s flight from California early Thursday. And Mihaljevic rolled out a red carpet outside the family home as Eddie stepped from the limo.
The Marine seemed overwhelmed by the display of patriotism, welcome and thanks from family, friends and neighbors.
“I really appreciate this. It’s a lot to take in. It’s really cool to see everybody,” Eddie said to the crowd.
“He doesn’t think he deserves it,” his father said.