Thousands Welcome Home Fallen Ohio Soldier


UPDATED: Saturday June 21, 2014 10:16 PM

The Central Ohio community welcomed home the body of a fallen soldier Saturday.

Army Specialist Justin Helton's body was flown into Rickenbacker International Airport.

The Department of Defense said he and four other soldiers were killed June 9 by friendly fire in Afghanistan.

Family and friends waited at the airport for his return.

Hundreds of motorcyclists followed the motorcade carrying his body from Rickenbacker to Waverly, where thousands of people lined the streets awaiting his return.

Some knew Helton, but many just wanted to be there to say thank you.

"My family was a military family and I understand what it means. And I think most of the people in the United States know what it means," said Waverly resident Kirk Millner.

That understanding of Helton's sacrifice was visible Saturday as his hometown came together to show his service would never be forgotten.

Helton will be laid to rest Monday. His funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Eastern High School in Beaver with burial following at Germany Cemetery.

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