BAKERSFIELD - Hundreds of people packed Meadows Field Airport to welcome back a local marine who was seriously injured while serving in Afghanistan.
Since losing his legs from a road side bomb explosion seven months ago, Lance Corporal Joshua Brubaker has been at Walter Reed recovering. He’s been far away from his loved ones until now.
Brubaker knew his loved ones would be waiting to greet him at Meadows Field Airport.
“It feels good man, I mean overwhelming actually,“ he said.
What he didn’t know was that the family would be accompanied by hundreds of people around the community.
“It’s amazing. I was very surprised. When I got off the plane, one of the ladies said there’s like a thousand people outside and I was like whatever and then I was like oh God there is,” said Brubaker.
Armed with their flags and personal greetings, familiar faces and complete strangers all came together to pay tribute to this wounded marine.
“It’s tears of joy and it’s nice to bring them back home. At least we can see them and I know there have been a lot of causalities out there, but we are supportive of everything no matter what. This is our country and we need to defend it and do the best that we can,” said Pedro Zamora, a father of a marine who wanted to come and welcome Brubaker back to Bakersfield.
Before leaving for service, Brubaker was home-schooled and very active in the California mounted shooters and the 4-H.
“I’ve never seen crowds like this at the airport and it’s amazing to see the patriotism of the people of Kern County, the caring for someone who has served our country so well,” said Kern County Supervisor, Karen Goh.
Since June, Brubaker’s mother has been right by his side at Walter Reed while the rest of the family, in Bakersfield praying for a quick recovery.
“This is the best Christmas present the family could ask for, just to be reunited and enjoy their time together,” said Jamie Jones, family friend.
Brubaker is scheduled to be home for the next thirty days. Then, he’ll head back to Walter Reed for more surgeries and his prosthetics in the spring.
“It’s a really good feeling knowing that I belong to a county and a community that supports people or who’s willing to help one another out when it’s needed. And it’s a good feeling that’s the reason why I joined, it’s the reason why I fought,” said Brubaker.
There are only two things Brubaker wants to do as soon as his limo reaches its final destination from the airport.
“Play with my dog and pet my horse that’s one of the first things I’m going to do when I get home,” he said.