COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.,-A local hero is honored for his bravery and service to our country. Private First Class Cody Chasteen is on leave from the army after being hurt in an explosion in Afghanistan. Collier County deputies and firefighters are giving this courageous man a Christmas he'll never forget.
"It's a great experience to be able to be home with your family on Christmas," said PFC Cody Chasteen.
"In 20 years it's the most special one I've had, to know he's back here and I could put my arms around him," said military mother Kimberly Cortez.
PFC Cody Chasteen had no idea what was in store for him Christmas morning.
"Just a thank you would have been terrific, but they went above and beyond and I was just extra grateful for that."
On board these engines were Christmas gifts for the local hero. The fire department went out and bought cody his favorite Florida Gator gear, but more importantly, these first responders wanted to meet the soldier who has given up so much for our country.
"It was nice to show we are still appreciated and how everyone is grateful we are home and what we do," said PFC Chasteen.
It was a "Welcome Home" sign outside of PFC Chasteen's Collier County home that grabbed the attention of the Big Corkscrew Fire Island Department.
"We wanted to thank him for his service, what he did for his fellow comrades, he's just an outstanding kid," said Public Outreach Coordinator for Big Corkscrew Island, Barry Liebowitz
Recently, PFC Chasteen escaped death in Afghanistan when he and his crew drove over an IED. He did suffer a broken arm.
"You live by the minute, they say no news is good news, and you live every second, just please, please let him come back," said Cortez.
But this Christmas, this military family is happy their solider is home for the holidays, given the events that led up to today.
"He is my hero every day, every hour, every second of the week."
PCF Chasteen is considered a hero for getting the rest of his crew to safety that day in Afghanistan.
The IED blew off the front of end his truck, and Cody was able to get out, check the truck's condition and drive to safety.