SEA BRIGHT, NJ - Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin T. Hoffman returned to a hero’s welcome last night as fire and first aid emergency vehicles lined State Highway 36 from Keyport to Sea Bright with sirens wailing and lights flashing.  Children were seen in bunches along the side of the road waving signs saying, “We Honor Our Soldiers” and “Welcome Home” to the Sea Bright volunteer firefighter.

hoffman_parade_highlands_bridge
A Parade of Emergency Vehicle escorts Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin T. Hoffman.  photos by C.J Gutch, www.gutchmedia.com

"It was really staggering," said Hoffman of number of people who came to greet him.

The parade was arranged by Kerry Gowan, a first aid volunteer of Highlands and Lisa Griffin, an Union Beach police officer and resident of Middletown.

The parade proceeded through Hazlet, Union Beach, Keansburg, Middletown, Atlantic Highlands, Highlands and Sea Bright, before ending at Sandy Hook.

hoffman_parade_tom_kevin
Tom and Kevin Hoffman

Hoffman, 21, while on duty in Afghanistan, suffered injuries to his knees, hips, legs, jaw and spine when the Humvee he was traveling in hit an IED, or improvised explosive device.  He was in the third vehicle of  a 10-vehicle convoy when the 150 lb. device blew up.

He spent a week and a half at a hospital in Germany before transferring to the United States where he spent another two months at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.   He just completed two months of rehabilitation at another facility in Richmond, Virginia.

Born and raised on Sandy Hook, Kevin Hoffman is the son of National Park Service Historian Tom Hoffman, who has served as a ranger there for many years.

hoffman_parade_sea_bright
Members of the Sea Bright Fire Department welcome Kevin Hoffman home.

Unable to stay at his father’s Sandy Hook home because of the difficulty in managing stairs and moving around in the old house, Kevin is staying at the dormitory for seasonal workers at Sandy Hook.

He will report back to duty at the Marine Corps War Fighting Lab in Quantico, Virginia on July 26.