Santa delivers a special gift to Dundee family

Gwen Chamberlain
Rob Pierce gets a hug from his mother, Debbie and a high five from his father, Lenny Pierce as Santa looks on. Rob, who served in Afghanistan, has not been to Dundee since November 2008.

Tears of joy flowed freely in Dundee Friday night as a crowd of people watched a soldier return home to surprise his family.

Rob Pierce, son of Debbie and Lenny Pierce and a 2000 graduate of Dundee Central School, who serves in the U.S. Army, was brought home as a gift to the family by the American Legion Auxiliary.

Pierce, who is based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, has been in the Army for 11 years. He served in Afghanistan, returning to the U.S. in January of this year, but he hasn't been home to Dundee since November 2008.

Shivering in the cold, Pierce was greeted by scores of family and friends during a brief ceremony.

His visit will be short — he has to return to Kentucky on Sunday morning. But this will be a weekend to remember for him and his family.

The ceremony also included prayers and comments from American Legion leaders and a representative from Congressman Tom Reed's staff, who presented a flag to the family of Christopher Scott, who was killed in Afghanistan Sept. 3. The family was also remembered for their sacrifice and their recent loss of Christopher's father, Kenneth.

Girl Scouts sing "It's a Grand Old Flag" The flag in the background was flown in Iraq.