ELKHART – An Army K-9 handler injured in Afghanistan is back home with his family for awhile.
Aaron Yoder got a hero's welcome and an escort from hundreds of Patriot Guard motorcycle riders who made the trek with him from the airport in South Bend back home to Elkhart on Saturday.
An avenue of flags and well wishers lined the South Bend Regional Airport as Yoder made his way thru the crowd to greet family and friends.
A brief break in the applause allowed Yoder time to relish some long overdue hugs. He's back home for the first time since being shot in the leg while on patrol in Afghanistan with his canine Bart.
Yoder traveled in style from South Bend to Elkhart in a red convertible. Hundreds of Patriot Guard riders fell in behind to provide an escort.
“I was in Vietnam,” said Patriot Guard rider Randall Freed. “When I came home, it was different. It is a privilege to do this -- an absolute privilege.”
The motorcade wound its way to Elkhart. And for many of the riders, this was a special treat. So often, they ride to accompany the casket of a fallen soldier, but this weekend, it was a much different story.
“I'm retired Navy, and one of our heroes was coming home, said John Dohse, another Patriot Guard rider. “When we usually do this, it’s. This is a happy one, because we get to congratulate him and thank him and welcome him home.”
At the end of the ride in Elkhart, Mayor Dick Moore was on hand to help welcome Yoder home and to thank him for his service.
Yoder is home to take a break from the treatment he's been getting in Texas. Just days ago, he was able to take his first steps since being shot.
Yoder's father tells us Aaron is still in pain and may have to deal with leg problems for the rest of his life.