Soldier Returns To Welcome From Friends, Family, and Strangers

For the last ten months in Iraq, he has helped to find and destroy roadside IEDs. He also volunteered to build schools and orphanages.

Now, Petty Officer Jeffrey Carroll is back home in Tyler, at least for two weeks.

As KLTV 7's Danielle Capper shows us, loved ones and people that didn't even know him were there to welcome him home.

"He should be here any minute and I can't wait."

Jane Lawrence has been waiting for her son Jeffrey to come home.

"He was supposed to be back last night. His plane was delayed in Germany..."

In the past year since Jeffrey's been gone, his sister Jessica got married.

"It was hard. I miss him. I prayed and cried. But your friends are there for you," said Jane.

Friend, plus about 50 more from 'welcome home soldiers' welcomed Jeffery home today.

"There is such love," said Jane. "These people don't know us, don't know Jeffery."

We got to talk to Jeffery after he was greeted.

"I'm coming out here with the camera and I'm seeing everybody. Oh my gosh, it's a little overwhelming," said Jeffery.

He's home again, after his third deployment.

"I was like, surely these people aren't all here for me...This is the first time I have had anybody meet me after a deployment."

In Iraq, Jeffery volunteered with the Military Police battalion.

"My job is to advise the battalion commander in ways we can defeat radio controlled IEDs. Pre-mission planning, tactics, procedures, things like that."

"There is so much good stuff going on over there," Jeffery told us. "We have the Sunni and Shiite Muslims working together on a unprecedented level. It is just really inspiring to see these people correlating around a shared hope of freedom. They are putting aside these past differences that they have had and putting down their arms and working toward a more democratic Iraq.

Jeffrey has been able to help build orphanages and schools in Iraq.

"A good part of Iraq is very calm. [There is] sporadic violence. But it's not anywhere near what we see in the media. It has gone down dramatically."

A testament to the jobs our soldiers, from east Texas and beyond, are doing.

Jeffery's first stop after the airport: What-A-Burger.

It is one of his favorite Texas restaurants, and something he can't get in Virginia Beach.

Danielle Capper, reporting.