(10/03/12) - There will be a heroes welcome home this week for one special Army soldier.
It was in April when Staff Sargeant Travis Mills of Vassar was injured serving in Afghanistan. He lost parts of both his arms and his legs.
This week, as Vassar High School celebrates its Homecoming, Sgt. Mills returns home to a big celebration.
The high school says Staff Sergeant Travis Mills is coming back home to Mid-Michigan sometime Wednesday, but the big celebration starts Thursday and continues on Friday.
They're expecting thousands of people over the next couple of days in Vassar for the Hometown Heroes-themed homecoming weekend.
Travis will be the Grand Marshall in Thursday's homecoming parade, and on Friday, it's a special pregame celebration where Travis will address the crowd. His close friend Michael Hecht says the 2005 Vassar high graduate, and football team captain, is honored by the community's love and support.
"It's going to be a great turnout," Hecht said. "What the city is doing for Travis, what USA is doing for Travis is phenomenal. It hits you in the heart. For this to have happen to Travis, he will make a positive out of this, he's already touches thousands of lives and he's going to continue to do that for rest of his life."
The community is busy making sure everything is just right for Mills' return. They want to put the spotlight on his service and honor him and his family for what they've done for his country.
"The town just rallied behind him. We've lost three students in previous wars and we are bringing one home, which is great," said Vassar High School principal Paul Wojno. "It's been almost spontaneous help of wanting to do something, goes the same now. Everyone is excited, this place will be hoppin', it's going to be a lot of fun."
"Warmth and emotion is just going to be overpowering for everyone, it's going to be one of Vassar's greatest moments," said Vassar resident Sandy Templeton.
Unionville Sebewaing Area schools have also been raising money for Travis. They are Vassar's opponent for the game. The USA Patriot's motto has been 'two teams, one hero.'
"I'm going to have an active military honor guard, American Legions, VFW's coming from all over not just Tuscola County," said Jude Adams of the Yellow Ribbon Guard.
"It's a great opportunity for the community and how proud we all are of him," Templeton said.
"For this to have happen to Travis, he will make a positive out of this, he's already touched thousands of lives and he's going to continue to do that for rest of his life," Hecht said.
The parade kicks off at 6:30 Thursday evening. It begins in Vassar at Cass and Lincoln.
Mills will address the crowd Friday evening between 6 and 7.
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