Welcome Home Eight Years In The Making

WAXHAW, NC –Despite the cold rain Friday, a Waxhaw crowd had a mission.

Fire departments, police, deputies, a marching band, neighbors and strangers from across the U.S. lined up to welcome home a Waxhaw man like he never could have imagined.

It was a homecoming for their hero.

Mike Verardo is one of the most severely wounded veterans from the War on Terror. Plus, he’s a local dad who has not seen his children at home in nearly six months because he has been recovering from surgeries in the hospital.

The army infantryman was injured in Afghanistan in 2010. Eight years no welcome home party because he was in and out of the hospital so much.

His wife feared he wouldn’t make it home this Christmas with his three daughters.
“Our oldest asked Santa, that was what she asked Santa for,” said Sarah Verardo.

“I certainly hoped he’d be home for Christmas, but you just never know how these things go. I’ve learned to hope for the best and, sometimes, expect the worst.”

Then, news came that he was going to get out. Friends planned the welcome home party he never got so many years ago.

So outrageous, Mike didn’t even think it was for him.

“I saw cars parked, and I thought people were having parties, and I saw a giant American flag,” said Mike Verardo. “It’s great to see my girls again. I just love them so much. They’ve been troopers being away from me for so long.”

Now, his girls have their Christmas wish.

“I’m very happy to tell Santa that he was able to deliver!” said Sarah Verardo.

The Verardos founded a group called the Independence Fund that helps severely wounded soldiers and their families. To learn about that group, click here.