Staff Sgt. Joshua Armour picks up his niece, Cara Ferguson, at his homecoming celebration that was planned for him by his family and the community.

With two police cars in the lead and a battery of fire trucks at the rear, Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Armour came home in a literal parade.

Greeted by family, friends, local personalities and politicians at the West Salem Township firehall where he used to volunteer, Armour shook hands, lifted his 3-year-old niece, Cara Ferguson, up in his arms, and was welcomed home by the community.

His parents had planned the homecoming celebration as a surprise, but Armour’s suspicions grew after his father told him to wear his dress uniform and one of his older sisters, Tracy, said it was for family photos.

Then an officer in the military who’d spoken to the family, not knowing it was a surprise, said something might be going on.

Armour, who used to deliver The Herald, used the online edition and did a search for his name and “homecoming” and found an article published Dec. 18 inviting the public to attend.

“If he wasn’t such a snoop, he wouldn’t have found it,” his twin sister Rebecca joked.

Armour will soon be completing his second tour in Iraq, which is also his third tour in the Middle East, said his brother-in-law, Matt Ferguson.

“We’re very proud of him, very thankful for what he’s done,” Ferguson said.

Originally, Armour was to return over Christmas, but he exchanged his leave with a fellow soldier.

That soldier had children and a family and was able to see them over Christmas. “That’s the type of guy he is,” said his sister, Tina Ferguson.

His father, Terry Armour, called the homecoming a “blessing,” and his mother, Martha Armour, said there’s still some anxiety because her son has a girlfriend still overseas.

But Armour was glad for the homecoming, if only because it let him see so much of his family at once. “I’d never be able to see all of them in a four-day time frame (otherwise), so it was good.”

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