Rain Doesn’t Dampen Welcome for Wounded Marine

Curt Lashley stands in wait of the escort. He brought several "Thank You" signs customized with Cpl. Nicholson's name and placed them along the Bayshore median.

It is a gray, cloud shrouded day in Tampa. The wind is brisk and rain intermittent. Yet, the weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of those wanting to wish Marine Cpl. Mike Nicholson home.

Dozens of Patriot Riders as well as members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and the Tampa Police Department.

As Kathy Alberts put it,”He has put up with an awful lot, the least I can do is put up with a little rain.”

The van with Cpl. Nicholson approaches the intersection at South Boulevard where about a dozen folks came out to wave or hold a flag high as he passed.

There were so many participants it took about two minutes for the entire escort to pass on its way to a welcome home reception at Christ the King Church in South Tampa.

A father and son who came out to Bayshore to honor Cpl. Nicholson.

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Marine Welcomed Home to Tampa with Bagpipes, Bayshore

Cpl. Mike Nicholson and family Nov. 2011. Photo courtesy of his website.

Sunday (19 Feb. 2012), bagpipers, an honor guard and flag waving friends, airport employees and community supporters will greet Marine Corporal Mike Nicholson at Tampa International Airport.

The community is encouraged to join the welcome the  wounded Marine at the Airside F shuttle or along Bayshore Boulevard.

Cpl. Nicholson, 22, is the son of John Nicholson, a 13 year employee at TIA. The young Marine lost both legs and his left arm while on combat foot patrol in Afghanistan in July when a hidden explosive went off. He has endured 23 surgeries, but is making an extraordinary recovery, learning to walk again with the help of prosthetics.

There’s a website dedicated to Cpl. Nicholson journey and recovery. It includes photos of his progress and journal entries from family.

Cpl. Nicholson practicing with his new prosthetics.

Welcoming him home will be a motorcade that includes the Patriot Guard Riders, Tampa police officers and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies which will lead Cpl. Nicholson from the airport, down Bayshore Boulevard and then to Christ the King Church for a ceremony.

Architect Richard Hartmann told the Tampa Tribune, Nicholson requested the drive down Tampa’s waterfront roadway that links downtown to MacDill Air Force Base:

Nicholson had one wish about his homecoming.

“He wanted to ride down Bayshore Boulevard,” Hartmann said.

The motorcade will travel from Tampa International Airport to downtown, south on Ashley Drive, right on Brorein Street, left on Bayshore Boulevard, right on Bay to Bay Boulevard, right on Church Avenue and on to the pavilion at Christ the King.

His flight is scheduled to arrive Sunday, Feb. 19 at 1:45 p.m. in the main terminal near the Airside F shuttle.

The welcome home ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Christ the King Church pavilion, on Church Street near South Dale Mabry Highway.

Cpl. Nicholson participating in a four day Miami to Key West Cycling Challenge sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project.

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