When Lt. Nicki Warner stepped off the plane in Charleston earlier this week after spending a year in Afghanistan, she had no idea she would be welcomed by so many people. Not only were her friends and family present for the emotional homecoming, but there was also a crew of veterans waiting to thank her for her service. The West Virginia Patriot Guard Riders even made a custom banner with her name and photo.
"It was definitely great to see my mom and dad," Warner told the local Charleston news. "I wasn't expecting the rest. The crowd and the banner almost brought tears to my eyes."
The young soldier also had a special message for her fellow soldiers who were unable to return home for Christmas.
"Thank you so much for everything you do. I know the holidays are the hardest to be away. I'm appreciative. We're all appreciative. We can't wait for you all to come home," she said.
As a final thank you, the West Virginia Patriot Guard Riders escorted Warner and her family home, where she’s excited to be spending some time relaxing with her loved ones.
You can watch the full video of Warner’s homecoming at Fox11—just make sure you have the tissues handy!