Harlingen Hero Comes Home: LCpl. Jose Javier Rivera Jr.

The excitement could not be contained at Valley International Airport, where family and friends waited to welcome home LCpl. Jose Javier Rivera Jr.

After almost thirty minutes past the expected time of arrival, his mother was anxious, knowing at any moment, her son could be coming down the escalator for the first time in over two years.

"I'm going to cry, his mother Delia Rivera said. I'm going to cry for sure, I'm already starting to cry right now."

The cheers erupted at the first sight of LCpl. Rivera, coming down the escalator dressed in his military best.

After his journey across the globe, LCpl. Rivera has finally landed on the ground of his hometown, Harlingen.

His mother says the wait was difficult, but worth it.

"I wouldn't have it any other way, Delia Rivera said. Even though it was hard to be away from him, I know he is doing something good for our country, and doing something good for his life. So we accept it, and we're very proud of him."

The former Harlingen Cardinal signed up for the U.S. Marines right after his graduation back in 2009, where he was trained and soon set off to fight for our country.

He was in Okinawa, Japan and then got deployed to Afghanistan for a total of six months, all the while, studying aviation mechanics.

LCpl. Rivera said that although the trip overseas was a difficult yet rewarding experience, he tells Action 4 News that he never forgot where he came from.

"My dad and my mom were always there for me, LCpl. Rivera said. My friends were always there for me. It feels great to come back and show them that because of their support, I'm in the position I'm in right now. Everywhere I went, I never once stopped representing Harlingen.

Lcpl. Rivera said seeing everyone again was a big surprise for him, not knowing so many would show up for his arrival.

But his only wish after all his service the past two years was that the community understands his loyalty to not only his country, but to his hometown.

"I hope I made Harlingen proud, let's put it that way, LCpl. Rivera said. I'm just glad to be back."