Sailor receives warm welcome home

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike McCarty has been on deployment in Iraq for the last year and just arrived home to Northeast Wisconsin Wednesday.

Friends and family gave him a warm welcome home with a small parade leading up to his house.

This is his third and most likely final deployment.

"This is so unusual that we can't be at the Green Bay airport to welcome him home, so we thought this was the safest way for social distancing to decorate and stand in his yard and have cars along the street," said Lori Vorpahl, a family friend who helped bring everyone together.

Restricted by the governor's Safer at Home order, Mike’s mother Jo McCarty has only left her house twice since March 10, Wednesday being the second.

She stood among family and friends welcoming her son home with one thing on her mind.

“The only thing that bothers me is that I won't be able to hug him,” said Jo.

While everyone else kept their distance, Jo couldn’t help but steal a hug from her son.

“It's strange for all of us,” said Mike. “The world that I left a year ago does not exist anymore.”

Mike arrived in Norfolk, Va., on March 11 from Germany, a level three country for COVID-19.

“We started our demobilization process as reservists. At about 2 o'clock on the 12th we were informed that we were put under 14 days of ROM restrictions (restrictions of movement), so we were put under quarantine in our hotel rooms for 14 days,” said Mike.

After traveling the rest of the way home on Wednesday, Mike was surprised by friends and family in his driveway.

“I knew nothing until my brother Pat McCarty, he's the Deputy Chief for Door County, he met us up at the exit here. Once I got around the corner and saw all the cars, then I realized what was going on,” said Mike.

After a short visit with the neighbors, he'll be quarantined for another 14 days, this time at home.