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Hero's Welcome For Retiring Air Force Sr. Master Sgt. From North Texas

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CELINA (CBS11) - After 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, Senior Master Sgt. Edward Medina came home to Celina on Friday.

His neighbors were there, lining the street to welcome him.

Children riding their bikes and a Prosper ISD police car escorted him the last two blocks.

"I was like, this isn't for me. That's really what I thought," he said.

It quickly sank in as people began walking to his car window to shake his hand.

"Thank you for your service," they told him.

"Thank you so much," Medina replied, holding back a tear.

After numerous deployment overseas and throughout the Middle East, Medina is retiring.

"I wanted it to be special," said his wife, Sherri.

She texted a neighbor about his homecoming.

"Do you think the neighbors would mind if I decorated the front yard? Put up some flags?" she recalled asking.

Neither of them expected to find a crowd.

"My emotions were going all over the place," he said.

Stationed in Germany for four years, Medina has only spent weeks at a time with his wife.

"I mean, we've been married a year and a half. And we were waiting for this day, and it's here," she said.

Medina is still grappling with the end of his military career.

"It's still not an easy thing to accept, but to come home to a reception like this, puts it all into perspective… that what I do is for all of them," said Medina.

He doesn't want anyone to forget those still serving or those who'll never get their happy homecoming.

"If we can keep them in our thoughts and prayers," he asked.

With his wife due this April, he's ready to enjoy a well-earned retirement.

"My priority is my little baby Dakota," he said.

Sgt. Medina will be serving as a stay at home dad.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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