A hero's welcome

Danville vets, supporters turn out to welcome Danville soldier

It was a 26-motorcycle salute for Army Specialist Robert D. Maggio. More than two dozen bikers from the Patriot Guard Riders provided an honor guard escort for Maggio and his parents as they attended a Welcome Home Celebration at the Danville Town Meeting Hall.

Over 100 area residents turned out for the Tuesday evening event, held to recognize Maggio's Army service. The 21-year-old Danville man served 15 months in Afghanistan. Stationed at Camp Eggers in Kabul, Maggio was a communications specialist. During his tour he rode in more than 300 military convoys as either a driver or a gunner.

He received the Army Commendation for his actions during an attack on the camp when a suicide bomber exploded an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) near the camp's technical control facility. Maggio helped evacuate the area and then guarded the communications center and maintained communications links.

During the celebration Tuesday, Maggio received further commendations from the Town Council, Patriot Guard, Blue Star Moms, Operation SAM, the VFW and other area veterans organizations.

Members of the Lafayette Flag Brigade awarded the young soldier one of the many flags they have flown.

Local singer Diana Nagy entertained the dozens of residents in attendance with the song "When Freedom Flies."

Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich read a proclamation honoring Maggio, listing his accomplishments in Afghanistan and the ribbons he had been awarded.

Arnerich took special pride in the presentation, as he has had long familiarity with Maggio.

"I've know Rob since he was 9 years old," he said. "You went away as a young man and you came back as a mature man that your community is proud of."

John Reese, Director of Information for the Viet Nam Veterans of Diablo Valley, led a group of veterans to the podium to offer their thanks and congratulations to Maggio and his parents, Chuck and Barbara.

"We're very fortunate that this community really knows how to welcome home heroes," he said.

Maggio briefly addressed the crowd, thanking them for coming out and offering their good wishes. He talked of hearing about his father's experiences as a soldier returning home from Vietnam and said how pleased he is that times have changed and his country is proud of their soldiers.

"Every time I hear people say thank you for your service, I just think, 'Thank you, for supporting us,'" he stated.

After the ceremonies ended, the Patriot Guard Riders fired up their bikes and rolled out, en route to a celebratory party to be held at Elliott's Bar.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathie Cash
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Congratulations to Army Specialist Robert Maggio. We are so proud of you. You have accomplished greatness with your courage and wisdom in your continued service to our country. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the strength it must have taken to enlist in the service, and then to continue on to accomplish so much in such a short period of time. You and other servicemen and women are keeping our country safe, and are fighting for our freedom with your bravery. Congratulations to your parents for raising a man with such integrity. We await your safe return at the end of your duty. Thank you. Thank You. Thank You.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ed Barnhart
a resident of Danville
on Mar 20, 2009 at 9:42 am

Chuck, Barbara & Rob,

This is fabulous!!! What a wonderful welcome home for you Rob...Celebrations like this make life in these United States so great as we honor folks who defend our country and serve us well. Can't wait to see you again sometime in the not too distant future to congratulate you myself.

Love to all,

Eddie & Mary

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Quriss Whitehead
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Im so proud of you, Brother! Im greatful you and Don made it home safe and sound. We love you very very much and can't wait till youre back from leave.

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