Langhorne airman home for the holiday
It looked like the Fourth of July had come early on East Marshall Avenue in Langhorne Monday evening, as a parade of flag-decorated firetrucks, a rescue vehicle, police cars and motorcycles passed down the normally quiet street.
No, it wasn’t Independence Day, but it was a really good prelude.
Zach Sayre came home safe and sound from an extended tour of duty in the Middle East. For this, his grateful family, friends and neighbors came out to honor him.
The drive-by salute was arranged by state Rep. Frank Farry, R-142, who’s also chief of the Langhorne-Middletown Fire Co. Zach’s father, Brian Sayre quickly helped him plan the event once he got word late last week that his son would be heading back to the United States.
The younger Sayre, a member of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, was serving a six-month tour when the coronavirus pandemic struck. His tour was extended more than two months.
“He was supposed to be back in April,” said Jill Sayre, Zach’s smiling mom. The Sayres and Zach’s fiancee, Korin Kinmouth, drove to Baltimore to pick him up at the airport. He got home at 2 a.m. Monday. His sister, Lily, 20, said she was so glad he was back.
As he stood in front of his house, the parade stopped and several participants came up to wish him well, including Bob Osterhout Jr., the commandant of the Jesse Soby American Legion Post 148 in Langhorne, and representatives of the Warriors’ Watch motorcycle club of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
“It’s always important to honor someone coming home from military service,” Osterhout said as he rode in a decorated convertible with other local post members, including his son, Bob Osterhout III, Don Minnick and Gene Enama.
Tom Manning and his wife, Eileen, are members of the motorcycle group and rode all the way from Springfield, Delaware County, to participate.
“It’s a nice ride up the turnpike,” Tom Manning said, noting the good cause.
Greg and Abby Watkins of New Britain Township came to the celebration as well. “We’ve known Zach since he was little,” Abby said.
Sayre, 27, appeared to choke up as he was presented with several keepsakes, including a bead decorated keychain from the Warriors’ Watch members and a flag that flew over the Capitol in Washington, D.C., from Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s office.
“Welcome back, buddy,” Farry said as he handed Sayre the mementos.
“I appreciate it,” Sayre said about the welcoming. “It’s nice growing up in a community like this."
Among the gifts were six-packs of beer from some of his classmates, including Alex McCaulley and Brandon Rosso. “We’re good friends since Oliver Heckman,” McCaulley said, mentioning where they went to elementary school together.
“Just another Monday night,” neighbor Josh Griffiths kidded him.
Sayre works in heating and air-conditioning as well as serving in the guard unit, but he plans to take a few weeks off before returning to his job.
“I feel very good to be home,” he said.