A local family is counting their many blessings this Christmas as a local soldier comes home after a long journey.  While many people are wishing for giant gifts under the tree, you could say that Santa, with some help from up above, has already given the McDermott family the greatest gift of all, their son is coming home!

This past summer I remember getting several calls and requests for a local hero named Luke McDermott, a 2005 graduate of Greenville High School .  I had played several songs in his honor, promoted local benefits, and really felt the pain of his friends and family.  Once again, our area had seen the impact of the war hit close to home.

An armored vehicle in which Cpl. Luke McDermott, 22, was traveling was hit by a roadside bomb on June 9 in Afghanistan.  He survived, but his right leg was amputated below his knee. His left leg was also seriously hurt, with many broken bones.  Sadly, over the last few weeks, this leg was also removed while he was at a military hospital in San Antonio.

Luke is arriving home after this long medical procedure tonight at Albany International Airport.  Although several people are expected to be on hand to welcome him home, a bigger crowd is anticipated to arrive this weekend.  On Sunday, December 19 the American Legion in Greenville is hosting a public "meet and greet" with Luke McDermott from 3-5pm.  A small chance for Luke to say thank you to his supporters, and for us to meet and thank a local hero in person.

By the way, I have been friends with Luke's Grandfather, Jim McDermott, for 20 years.  Jim is very proud of his grandson and is overwhelmed by the support shown by the entire Capital Region.  I think we all agree with his Grandfather!

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