Family, neighbors welcome back Marine

DREXEL HILL, Pa. - December 12, 2008 Children squealed as they got a glimpse of their returning family hero.

A grateful Cpl. Matthew Sonderman was overwhelmed by the hero's welcome he got at the Philadelphia International Airport.

"It's a wonderful feeling. But it's truly my honor," Cpl. Sonderman said.

The 23-year-old marine from Drexel Hill returned home with injuries suffered in June when an IED exploded beneath his HUM-V in Afghanistan.

It was his third tour of duty; the first two were spent in Iraq.

"I just thank God I'm still here," Cpl. Sonderman said.

Matt suffered multiple eye, arm and leg injuries, including third degree burns on his leg. He came home to rest after 6 months of grueling physical therapy at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas.

The wounded marine was escorted home by a patriot group called the Warrior Watch Riders. Students from his alma mater Hillcrest elementary, neighbors, and local police came out to salute him.

Matt appreciates their support, and looks forward to 30 days with his family and a chance to eat some fine Philly foods.

"Cheesesteaks first on the list, a hoagie, tasty cakes, scrapple, pork roll, some water ice," Cpl. Sonderman said.

Matt's relatives relish his home coming as an immeasurable holiday gift.

"For all of us this is a wonderful Christmas gift. Definitely," Matt's grandmother, Marilyn, said.

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