There are many advantages to living in a small town-the pace of life is slower, our children benefit from smaller classrooms and there is less traffic, just to name a few. But, the best part of living in a small town is how the entire community comes together to support one of its own.
That's what happened on Tuesday when hundreds of supporters flooded Moodus to welcome home a local hero arriving the day before the 4th of July after serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Friends, family and complete strangers lined the streets, decked out in red, white and blue. Some held signs, while others waved flags. All to honor one man, Sgt. Matthew Prue, who has dedicated his life to supporting not only our small community, but our country.
Sgt. Prue entered the U.S. Army in July of 2007 at the age of 19 and has served tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. His distinguished military career includes roles as a Combat Chief Leader of a recon team and covert infiltration into enemy lines.
Sgt. Prue has enlisted for an addition six-year term and plans to reach his goal of retiring from the Army after 20 years of service.
His welcome home stretched beyond the event as many well-wishers also posted on the event's Facebook page. Here is what some people had to say:
Doug Jones: Welcome home! God bless you and what you do for the country!
Suzanne Novak: Shelley, I don't know you or Matt but I wanted to personally thank you for the sacrifices your family is making to keep all of us safe and free! …God Bless your family, Matt and America!... Let's show him we get it!!! We know the true meaning of Independence Day!!!
Bobby Easton: D-Day...Time for the rubber to hit the road. Heads up Moodus, we're bringing home a hero !!!! Yee Haw
Shelley Lattrell Mosig (Sgt. Prue's mother): It's all starting to hit me. The emotions are setting in. I am so grateful that Matt is coming home to us safely. Not all families are as fortunate for their soldiers safe return. Each of those families should get to experience the love, support, and kindness from their friends, family, and community. Thank you, each and every one of you have touched the hearts of the Mosig/Prue family. :)
Kristen Atenasio Melnick: Matt, we are all so very happy that you are home!! We wanted to be there to welcome you in person, but we're sure that the crowd you had there helped to do the job for us!! Thank you for your service, and for coming home safely to your family!! I'll bet tonight Neil, Shelley & Liz ( among others) will sleep their first truly solid nights sleep in a very long time!! Hopefully we will see you soon! Sending our love!!-Kristen, Matt & the Melnick Boyz
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There were many organizations that made contributions to make the event happen. Jackson Chevrolet in Middletown provided the Camaro convertible with driver for Sgt. Prue to arrive in style. provided patriotic music while revelers waited for Sgt. Prue to arrive and continued to perform during the event.
Other participants included the Patriot Guard Riders, the , the East Haddam Police Department and the American Legion. donated the yellow bow and ribbon for the welcome home a soldier ceremony.