Local Soldier returning home

Published 5:28 pm Friday, March 4, 2011

Navy Medic HM3 Chad Gibson will make his return home Saturday, March 5, to his own welcoming committee.

A welcome home celebration for Gibson will be held in downtown Clanton at 10 a.m. Those who are planning the event hope to have the streets lined with people, groups, signs, banners and balloons.

“The homecoming theme came from my friends at church,” said Stephanie Gibson, Chad’s mother. “He’s been gone 7 months, but it seems like an eternity”

Gibson, 25, serves with the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, and is on his second tour of duty and his first in Afghanistan. He was deployed in July to relieve and support other units.

“He actually relieved his brother-in-law’s unit,” said his mother. “[The unit] also went to Sangin to support a unit taking heavy fatalities.”

His tour wasn’t without danger. Chad was involved in an explosion in August and was out of the field for 72 hours.

Gibson, is originally from Maplesville and has been with the Marines four years. His mother said that his entrance into the military wasn’t a dream he had for years; instead, it was a calling he felt.

“He just decided to join the Navy,” she said. “He wanted to support the Marines in the field as a Corpsman, and they’ve become his brothers.”

Stephanie Gibson said she is thankful for the concern of those close to her family, and believes that a higher power had a hand in her son’s return.

“It was the prayers from the community, our friends and family, and the grace of God he came home,” she said.

After the welcome home celebration in the street, the Gibson family isn’t planning a huge get-together. Stephanie Gibson said that they plan to just enjoy having Chad, as well as his sister and two brothers, all at home together.

“We’re just going to have family time. We’re going to go to [Chad’s] grandmother’s and eat lunch, and come home and have family time.”