CHESTNUTHILL TOWNSHIP, Pa. — The roar of sirens and the rumble of engines could be heard as dozens of motorcycles joined by fire and police pulled into an ice cream shop near Brodheadsville, giving a sailor returning from overseas a hero’s welcome home.
The Warriors’ Watch Riders Northeastern Pennsylvania escorted Petty Officer 1st Class Kari Raffensberger back to Monroe County as she just arrived back from serving in Afghanistan for seven months.
It was at a shopping plaza in Bethlehem where Kari got the surprise the motorcycle club was waiting to take her home.
“It’s really overwhelming,” said Kari. “It means a lot to have the support of the community. I have an amazing family, I have an amazing fiancé and I’m just really lucky.”
And an emotional reunion followed as Kari hugged members of her family, getting to meet her newborn niece for the first time.
For mom June Miller, she’s a member of the motorcycle group and she values everything they do.
“I’m just so blessed and speechless,” said Miller. “I just love every one of these guys, I know some of them by name, I know most of them by their faces, but I’m just blessed to have them here in my family.”
This isn’t the first time this motorcycle group has done something like this for Kari’s family. Her fiancé was also deployed overseas and these guys were here to welcome him home when he returned earlier this month.
“I told all my friends about the welcome home that Kevin got,” said Kari, who’s fiancé returned on July 3rd. “I wrote it off to being around 4th of July but I mean this goes to prove that people will come out and support no matter the day.”
Despite the possibility of wet weather, the group vowed to ride, rain or shine.
“We don’t care if we get wet, it’s only water. She endured while she was deployed so what’s a half-hour worth of rain?” said Manny Alfonse, the president of the motorcycle organization.