Corporal Robert Kunz, U.S. Army, (left) has a word with his grandfather Robert G. Dannowitz, who served as a sergeant with the U.S. Marines in Korea, Sunday afternoon October 9, 2011 during the welcome home ceremony for Kunz in Frankfort, Illinois. Kunz served in Iraq. | Art Vassy~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 10, 2011 2:05AM
Being a soldier was something Cpl. Robert Kunz dreamed of since he could walk — and Sunday, his service was celebrated in a homecoming party at Jenny’s Steakhouse in Frankfort. Kunz, 23, returned to the United States Oct. 2 after a yearlong deployment to Iraq.
Kunz was surprised with a full Patriot Guard Riders procession that his mother, Sherry Spero, organized.
“It’s been wonderful to have him home,” Spero said. “With all the support and the prayers that we’ve had from everyone around us, I knew everything was going to be fine. I have a picture of him dressed up when he was 5 years old in all his Army gear. I always knew he’d be in the military.”
Kunz’s wife of three years, Heather, 23, said she was thrilled to have him home again.
“I was really scared and just praying for him and he was always on my mind, but God brought him home safely,” Kunz said. “He had a lot of people praying for him, and he made it.”
“I’m so proud of him — it’s amazing to me that he’s only 23 years old and he’s already done so much,” she said.
Sunday’s celebration was not only for Kunz but for his grandfather Robert Dannowitz. Dannowitz, a retired Marine, served during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953, and was honored for his service.
“I’m glad someone done something for the soldiers coming back from the war,” Dannowitz said. “I think these people have done a beautiful job. It’s been a great day, a great birthday. I was very proud of him. I was worried about him, but he’s done a good job, and I’m very proud of him.”
Cynthia Barr, who organizes homecomings for the Soldiers Guardian Angels, said it was important that Dannowitz’s war “was not forgotten.”
“The Korean War is often called the forgotten war,” Barr said. “It’s important that we let (veterans) know they will never be forgotten.”
The man of the hour, Robert Kunz, said “right on” when he and his grandfather drove up and saw the Patriot Guard waiting for them.
“My mom made comments she was going to throw something, but I didn’t know what to expect,” Kunz said. “It’s definitely a good thing (being a civilian).
“I definitely miss being overseas with my brothers,” Kunz said. “It’s what I wanted to do since I could walk. I wouldn’t trade what I did for the world. I thank everyone for coming out here, it’s definitely great,” Kunz said.
“I’m glad to be here (at Jenny’s Steakhouse) because it’s where my wife and I had our wedding reception. I thank my family for putting this together. I was fortunate enough to have a great chain of command; we came back with no injuries,” Kunz said.
“You guys are definitely being protected by the largest volunteer army in the world. More or less, everyone doing their job is more than happy to make a better lifestyle for everyone,” Kunz said
Welcome Home Soldier.......................................