OAK LAWN, Ill. (CBS) — He was badly wounded in Afghanistan, but his spirit was not broken.
On Thursday, Sgt. Brad Hojek came home to Oak Lawn to a hero’s welcome. The Army Ranger will get some rest and relaxation before heading back to the hospital.
He arrived at Midway Airport met by family and veterans paying tribute.
“I do feel lucky. I know it could have been a lot worse,” Hojek told CBS 2’s Mike Parker. “I was at a hospital down in San Antonio and there were a lot of guys worse off than me.”
As for Hojek’s mother, Terry Manley, she could only be described as relieved.
“It’s good to have him home in one piece – alive,” she said.
From Midway through the streets of Chicago and into the south suburbs, a seven-block-long motorcade carried Hojek and his family home. Along the route, firefighters from a dozen different departments saluted.
Included in the parade were at least 100 members of patriotic motorcycle clubs.
“They need help. They don’t get everything they deserve,” Tom Rogers of the American Knights Club said of returning soldiers.