Army Spc. Christopher Polcyn arrived home in Oak Lawn later than expected Sunday afternoon but that didn’t make his welcome-home celebration any less sweet.
Polcyn’s flight from Germany was three hours late, but he and his family still received an escort from the Warriors Watch Riders to their house at 104th Street and Long Avenue.
Polcyn stepped out of the family van and was greeted with hugs and applause from family, friends and neighbors while he clutched his 2-year-old daughter, Abby, in his arms.
“It’s a good, happy, joy moment,” said Polcyn’s wife, Stephanie, who held the couple’s 4-month-old son, Jackson, in a baby carrier.
Stephanie lived in Germany while her husband served a one-year stint in Afghanistan.
“I’m not much for speeches,” Polcyn said. “It is good to be home. I want to thank everyone here for supporting us.”
Polcyn added his signature to a Warriors Watch Riders banner that included the signatures of other soldiers.
Polcyn is on a 30-day leave and will have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas with family.
“I’m going to see as many people as possible,” said Polcyn, who enlisted in the Army in 2009.
“That’s great for us,” said Polcyn’s father, who held back tears as he talked about how he worried about his son’s safety each day.
Polcyn’s sisters, Rebecca and Lauren, also were on hand for the homecoming celebration, which eventually moved inside for a family Sunday dinner.
Polcyn said he did not expect an escort home by the Warriors Watch Riders, a support group that organizes homecoming and send-off events for military members.
“I wasn’t expecting any of that. It was pretty cool,” said Polcyn, a 2006 graduate of Richards High School.
His wife said he was deserving of the honor.
“I’m very proud of him. He deserves this,” she said.
I would also like to send a special shout out to Tony and Alysa of the Illinois Warrior Watch Riders for making this young man's homecoming even more special.