October 28, 2021 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Welcome home: Parade set to honor Randall

Lyndsey Leemon is proud of her brother.

So proud in fact, she wants to honor him with a parade to welcome him home.

“I wanted to plan the parade because the overwhelming sense of pride and honor I have for my brother, and all military personnel, bursts from the seams,” she said.

Her brother Cpl. Rowdy Randall, a Light Armored Reconassisnce Marine, is home from deployment in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Randall said he wanted to serve his country from a young age.

“I come from a long line of service members and have always been drawn to serving my country and community,” he said.

And now the community will welcome him home with a drive-by parade at 11 a.m.

Those wanting to participate should line up at St. Joseph-Ogden High School at 10:45 a.m. Cars will drive by Randall’s sister’s house on Rosewood Drive. After the parade, a small reception will be held at the Woodward Sports Complex.

“This community is the absolute reflection of family and I know a lot of people from this community have watched Rowdy grow up and would want to show their respect,”
Leemon said. “I thought a drive-by parade would be a quick, fun and easy way to show our support for Rowdy’s service and welcome home.”

Randall coming home was a surprise for his family. Originally, he was supposed to return to St. Joseph at the end of October. But last weekend the family was celebrating the engagement of a close friend and got a welcomed surprise.

“Rowdy crashed the party with the biggest surprise homecoming,” Leemon said. “It took a moment for our brains to register what our eyes were seeing, but once it connected we felt shock, joy, excitement and pride. He hates attention so we had to bottle our emotions and shut down the show quickly so he wouldn’t get embarrassed.”

Randall said the moment was very special.

“It was very special to surprise my mom and sisters and nieces,” he said. “I like to laugh at their reactions and make fun of them for being too emotional.”

Leemon said while her family is proud of her brother, it isn’t without worry.

“When the news of the situations in Kabul, Afghanistan was released, it was an extremely numbing feeling. But the comfort of knowing Rowdy was doing exactly what he’s always wanted to do- serve his country- got our family through,” she said. “There is no emotion that can accurately be described having a family member deployed, but pride and worry are two evident ones. It takes a very special person to do what our military does and see what most of them have seen. That draws the utmost respect and gratitude for these men and women.”

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