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Welcome Home, Marine: Photo Gallery

After a wreath-laying ceremony at his mom's grave in Mount Greenwood Cemetery, Tinley Park VFW hosts a welcome home party for Sgt. Matt Sternquist.

Seaman Apprentice Jacobi Dixon of University Park and Petty Officer Jake Abercrombie of Frankfort prepare to lay a wreath in honor of Dawn Marie Oehmen at Mount Greenwood Cemetery. Her son, Marine Sgt. Matt Sternquist, returned home from overseas.
Seaman Apprentice Jacobi Dixon of University Park and Petty Officer Jake Abercrombie of Frankfort prepare to lay a wreath in honor of Dawn Marie Oehmen at Mount Greenwood Cemetery. Her son, Marine Sgt. Matt Sternquist, returned home from overseas.
By Mary Compton
Patch contributor

In a motorcade fit for a president, Marine Corps Sgt. Matt Sternquist was escorted to a welcome home party by the American Veterans Motorcycle Riders.

Riding through stoplights, with traffic stopped throughout the south suburbs, Sternquist was led to the Tinley Park VFW Post 2791 on Friday evening. 

With American flags waving, several people showed up to show love and support for Sgt. Sternquist. As he looked at the crowd, he could not believe how communities came out in his honor.

“Amazing. This is overwhelming. I did not expect this at all,“ he said. 

Before the party began at the Tinley Park VFW, a stop was made at Mount Greenwood Cemetery. Sternquist’s grandfather had passed away when he was overseas, and his mother died when he was 4 years old. A wreath-laying ceremony took place at his mother's grave on Friday.

“I lost my mom at a young age, I remember how sweet and nice she was,“ Sternquist said.

Participating in the wreath-laying ceremony was Sternquist's cousin, Jake Abercrombie of Frankfort, who is a student at Lincoln-Way North High School and a petty officer in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps. As the sun was setting, he helped place the wreath on the grave of his aunt.

Sgt. Sternquist got emotional as he stopped at his grandfather's resting place for the first time.

“My grandfather recently passed, I wasn’t able to be home for that,” said Sternquist, who saluted his grandfather before the motorcade took him to his welcome home party at the Tinley Park VFW with family and friends.

Sternquist was a field radio operator and a martial arts instructor for the Marine Corps. He participated in humanitarian relief efforts in Timor-Leste and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He was honorably discharged in late October.

“I’m thankful for coming home safely, thankful for my family, my country and everyone in it,” he said.

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