Wounded Montana Soldier Returns Home

NBC Montana

BOZEMAN, Mont. — By 12 o'clock the Arlin Hanger at Gallatin Field Airport was full of friends, family and supporters, including Senator John Tester and Governor Brian Schweitzer.

Senator Tester says it was important for him and Williams' community to come out and show their support.

"To say thank you. Thank you for what you have done for this country. Thank you for keeping this country great and we'll support you as life moves on for you," says Senator Tester.

People greeted Williams with applause and signs of appreciation. He took time to visit with family and friends, and supporters were invited to come forward and welcome home the veteran.

Williams says he had no idea he would receive such a hero's welcome.

"I was truly amazed to see all these people here today. I saw you guys from the sky, the people here. It said welcome home j-d on the sign. I was listening the whole time. Everyone was sitting right here the whole time. It brought tears to my eyes. I was shocked. I was not expecting all the people to be here," says Williams.

The scene was similar but on a smaller scale in his hometown of Harrison. The Montana Highway Patrol led a procession carrying Williams back to the town he grew up in.

Cars and people lined main street as friends and residents came out to support the hometown hero.

Carole Kimmel is a former classmate of J.D. Williams. She says she's thrilled to see such a turnout.

"I'm so glad that so many people showed up. You know, we were worried that word wouldn't get out right but it did. I'm amazed it's really good. Good to see that everybody is so proud of our hero," says Kimmel.

Williams says he plans to spend his Memorial Day weekend with family and friends. Tomorrow, he will walk with his sister for her high school graduation.