BREAUX BRIDGE, La. (KLFY) – After serving his country for 22 years, a military veteran is finally home for good.
First Class Petty Officer Billy Bernard received the homecoming of a lifetime on Friday as he returned to his home in Breaux Bridge.
“Leave your hands free. We’ll hold this so you can run into his arms,” Barnard’s family members told his wife before his arrival.
Kami Barnard, a military veteran herself, stood outside her and her husband’s home, waiting for his arrival.
“He’s finally coming home for good. Yesterday he took off his uniform for the last time, so it’s a bit bittersweet. It’s a little emotional because it’s all he’s known for the past 22 years, but today is the day he finally comes home for good and never leaves,” Kami said.
She’s been counting down the days ever since he left. She told News 10, “He’s actually been up there for the last 612 days while I’ve been here.”
With only minutes and seconds until their reunion, Barnard’s friends and family made sure they had everything they thought he’d want back home.
“I think the very first thing he’s going to do after he hugs and kisses me, I think he’s going to want a beer and a link of boudin,” his wife said.
Finally, the black jeep they’d been waiting for rolled down the street, and Billy was home.
“It feels great. It’s been a long 18 months,” Billy Barnard said. “612 days,” his wife added.
After reuniting with all his closest friends and family members, Billy said that he’s most excited about just being back home.
“Being home and eating boudin,” he said. “This is what he came home for, the boudin,” his wife laughed.
Billy Barnard said that he’s now excited to start this second chapter in his life and that he wants to help lead and guide young kids in the community.