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Marine Receives Surprise Escort Home for Thanksgiving in Coxsackie

By THOMAS MARRA , Correspondent | November 25, 2021 | NEW YORK

Story No. 112921132

COXSACKIE, NY - A United States Marine received a surprise escort back to his home in Coxsackie on Thanksgiving morning.

Francis Burdick, 20, of Coxsackie, was returning home on Thursday, November 25th, when his friend of 17 years since pre-school, Jonathan Murphy, planned a surprise escort for Burdick during his trip back home. Burdick graduated from the Marine Corps on Wednesday, November 24th, and Murphy had been planning the escort for over a month. Burdick joined the late-entry program in March, shipped out on August 30th and just returned home on Thanksgiving.

“It started by just wanting to welcome him home,” Murphy said. “Once I reached out to a few people, we made it happen.”

The ride home began with police and fire agencies along the overpasses on the New York State Thruway. Burdick said he realized it was some sort of homecoming thing when he saw all the flags being displayed along his ride up the Thruway.

“It started when we passed one of the bridges on the Thruway and I saw a line of fire trucks and everybody was waving,” Burdick said. “Nope, it started when we passed a State Trooper [in New Paltz] and he was at attention with a salute.”

The escort began when they got off the Coxsackie exit of the Thruway and took them back to his residence in Coxsackie. Coxsackie Village, Coxsackie Hose 3, Earlton and Greenport Fire Departments, assisted by the Greene County Sheriff’s and New York State Police, helped escort Burdick to his home where he was greeted by friends and family.

“It meant the world just to see him happy,” Murphy said. “It’s one way to show my appreciation to the Marine Corps and one way to show that I’m proud of him for all that he’s done for the past three months.”

The escort was kept a secret and Burdick had no idea it was being planned. “It really touched me,” Burdick said. “I was beyond surprised--I did not expect anything like that.” He had it in his mind that he was the one that was going to surprise his friends and family with his return home, but instead, he was the one that received the surprise.

“I thought I was going to be able to come home, I was gonna knock on my grandma’s door and surprise her,” Burdick said, holding back tears. “She was outside waiting for me.”

There were many reasons that Burdick said influenced him to join the Marines. “The pride of belonging to something bigger than myself, being a part of the elite, to feel proud, to serve my country to make my people proud, the freedom I have to choose what I want to do in life,” he said. “Somebody died for that and I owe that to them and to future generations.”

He says his favorite part is the work ethic, discipline and integrity it instilled in him.

“I just want to thank everybody,” he said. “My community, my people, my best friend, my brother, my support cast of this whole process of becoming a United States Marine, and my mom.”

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.