Posted: May 28, 2012 6:30 PM by Nikki Ibarra
Updated: May 28, 2012 8:42 PM
Memorial Day is a reminder not all troops can be welcomed home. But a local couple is being honored for their tireless work to make sure those who are, get a hero's welcome.
Cheryl and Robert Tolan's organization, "Welcome Home Military Heroes", meets at local airports to welcome and thank the military men and women. They've welcomed home more than 300 men and women.
On Monday, they were recognized by Congresswoman Lois Capps for their work .
"Anyone coming home here were, we wanted them to know that we appreciate what they're doing, their choice to serve and that we're praying for them," said Cheryl Tolan of Arroyo Grande.
About five times a month, Cheryl and Robert Tolan meet at Central Coast airports or train stations to welcome home military men and women. "We want out local sons and daughters that are coming back to know that there are people here that support them," added Tolan.
But they're never alone. Friends, family and even complete strangers also join in.
But on Monday, it was their turn to be honored for their service to the hundreds of men and woman they've welcomed home.
"You have to be there to experience it. I still get teary eyed at every single one and we've welcomed over 300. It's an amazing feeling when that plane hit ground and you know that those boots are back on our soil," said Tolan.
It's an experience that hits close to home. Their son, 18 year-old Private Robert Tolan, is a Calvary Scout stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. And earlier this month, he got his own welcome home.
"When that plane landed in San Luis Obispo and we looked out the window and it was a sea of red, white and blue. It was the most amazing thing and you can hear them. You can see them screaming," said Tolan.
The Tolan's are contacted by the family of those service men and women, and they let them know where and when their family member will fly in. That's when the Tolan's contact their group of people, who just want to thank those serving in the military.
"Welcome Home Military Heroes" will be meeting this Thursday to welcome home 35 wounded warriors at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport. Also on that day, they'll be welcoming people at the Grover Beach train station.
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