Kickstands up for Colbey… Britt returns home from Afghanistan to hero’s welcome

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, August 6, 2019



Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The United States of America is blessed that many young men and women still hold the values that made the nation great from its early beginnings and desire to serve their country with honor and pride in the different military branches. If only each one could be welcomed home to a hero’s welcome each time they descend the steps of the plane and into the arms of their worried but relieved parents and family.

Not many can experience that but for one Elizabethton soldier, a homecoming far exceeding his wildest imagination awaited him when he arrived at the Tri-City Airport on Saturday. Along with his family and friends, U.S. Army infantryman Colbey Britt walked into the waiting area of the airport to chants of USA! USA! from over 150 bikers who came to the airport to escort him home to Elizabethton. The ‘Welcome Home’ was all put together by his father, Chris, who started everything on Facebook hoping to draw a few riders to join him in welcoming his son home before the post went viral and exploding to the large gathering. “By the grace of God — first and foremost let’s give Him gratitude, everything went well,” said Chris at his son’s party at Borderview Christian Church.

“I had people come out of the woodwork in the Tri-Cities area. I have people that came from four or five different states just to support a soldier’s homecoming. That’s what they do. There is a couple of motorcycle clubs that do it for the veteran community and even outside the veteran community,” continued Chris. “They raise money, and they do funerals, they do hospital visits. They are a very big staple in our society which takes care of the underprivileged.”

The elder Britt was first to admit that it was just so overwhelming at the number of people who took time out of their weekend to make it a special day for his son. “I wanted to give some props for the way they all came together. They helped us organize the ride and they helped us block traffic,” Chris said. “We had no idea the magnitude was going to be this big. One hundred fifty-eight bikes were the biggest number I heard. It was a great turnout — very heartfelt from the Tri-Cities biker community. He was utterly flabbergasted because I told him I was going to get a few together for a ride but I had no idea.”

The riders rallied at the Elizabethton Moose Lodge on Saturday morning waiting for Chris to arrive and lead the procession. It was kickstands up around 11:45 a.m. for the large group of riders as the roar of the cycles echoed off the waters of the Watauga as each one revved and waited to depart.

“When I pulled up at the Moose Lodge in Elizabethton, my eyes welled up and I was like he is going to crap,” Chris said with a big chuckle. “He’s not even going to be able to accept this.

“I can’t get over how the community came together to welcome my son home. It’s truly heartfelt.” Britt said that the ride to the airport was also special as drivers allowed the bikes to pass in recognizing something big was in the making.

“Everybody was waving and knew something big was going on so they pulled over and waved,” Chris said. “That goes to show you that outside this immediate circle that came together, how much the rest of the community will step in to do their part even to their unawares.

“I am overwhelmed right now. I just want to hug everybody.” With the show of support for his son, the elder Britt felt like what was done out of love and support for his son should shed a ray of hope to all those that witnessed it.

“There is hope in this world and I have the proof right here,” Britt said. A large part of Colbey’s life has been lived through his church family and Britt wanted to make sure that Borderview Christian Church was called out for love given his son.

“These people have been in this kid’s life as long as I have,” said Chris. “He’s been going to this church forever. His mom has kept him here. They are sometimes more family to him than I am. I am a dad and I am always going to bust his chops.

“These people have stood beside him and have always contacted him and communicated with him while he was over there and encouraged him in every way possible. These are good people and have instilled qualities into my kid that even I wasn’t able to. I appreciate each one of them.”

Borderview Christian pastor Scott Fisher said that Colbey had meant a lot to the church and they have covered him in prayer. “It has been amazing over the last few years just watching him grow and everything and when he told me he was joining the Army, I told him about all the great jobs he could get. All the tech jobs and he told me was going infantry and I said are you crazy,” Fisher said with a big laugh. “He has always meant a lot to all of us and is an amazing young man. When he left for Afghanistan, we prayed for him and he was good at keeping in contact with them. “I wished every soldier that comes home from war could have what he had coming home. He definitely deserved it.”