Former BGSU student receives hero’s welcome home in Akron PDF Print E-mail
Written by JIM CARNEY Beacon Journal Staff Writer   
Monday, 10 December 2012 11:06
Revere High School graduate Army Staff Sgt. Aaron Hale, left, sits next to his wife, Kelly, while listening to a speaker during a ceremony honoring his service in Afghanistan, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, in Richfield, Ohio. (AP Photo/Akron Beacon Journal, Ed Suba Jr.)
BATH TWP — Aaron Hale knew his story could have turned out so much worse.
So did Robert Gilbert Sr.
On Saturday afternoon, Gilbert drove his motorcycle with other bikers as part of an escort of more than a dozen police, highway patrol and sheriff’s cruisers to accompany Hale back home to his alma mater, Revere High School.
Unlike similar events in recent years when police with sirens ushered home a military member who had been killed in action in Iraq or Afghanistan, this escort was full of joy.
When Gilbert’s son, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Robert Gilbert II, 28, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010, police escorted his flag-draped casket through Richfield.
On Saturday, Gilbert was one of the first to welcome Hale, 34, who was blinded in a roadside bombing one year ago Saturday, at an uplifting homecoming ceremony.
“We have to do this for each and every one when they come back,” said Gilbert, 58, a retired Richfield police officer.
“Fortunately, this gentleman is with us.”
Army Staff Sgt. Hale, his wife, Kelly, and their four children, were given a hero’s welcome at the high school as nearly 700 people filled the auditorium and gave a standing ovation when Hale walked to the stage to speak.
“It is unreal, amazing, terrific,” Hale said of the celebration. “It is so humbling.”
Hale, a 1996 Revere High School graduate, attended Bowling Green State University. He served in the Navy from 1999 to 2007 as a cook and then joined the Army and became an Explosive Ordnance Disposal soldier, an expert in disarming bombs.

Click here for the complete article at the Akron Beacon Journal's website:
Army Staff Sgt. Aaron Hale receives hero’s welcome after being blinded in Afghanistan


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