A big surprise for a Valley hero returning home after serving overseas. His community, out in red, white and blue to welcome him home to Anthem.
U.S. Army Sgt. Austin Burnham had no idea what was waiting for him as he and his family drove onto their street. More than 100 people decked out with flags, glow sticks, and welcome home signs. The fire department there for support, too.
Burnham returned home Friday night after serving three years in Germany. His father and stepmom had just moved into the neighborhood a couple of months ago. The combat medic was shocked to see so much support from people he'd never even met.
"People that I don't even know," Burnham said while wiping away the tears. "I go do my job, it's great for them to show their support. It really is."
The people who helped organize the homecoming say it's common for the community to wear red on Fridays to honor their veterans.
Marine Corps veteran MaryAnn Derryberry says she stumbled upon the story while waiting in line at Post-Net in Anthem. Austin's mom was in front of her picking up a welcome-home sign. She started talking to her and knew they had to do something to honor his service.
"Found this out yesterday about 4:30 and made a few calls, and emails and it spread like wildfire," Derryberry said.
Sharon Spears's husband is also in the army. She's never met Austin, but wanted to show her support anyway.
"I don't know him," she said, "but this represents my husband as well, he represents every soldier.
The welcome home party thanked Burnham and then sang "God Bless America."
Burnham will spend about two weeks at home, including his father's birthday and Thanksgiving, and then head back to Fort Bragg. He says he has three years left in his tour but plans on making the military a lifelong career.