Lancaster residents prepare for fallen soldier’s return

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Fallen soldier coming home to Lancaster, Ohio

LANCASTER, Ohio (WCMH) — A Lancaster soldier killed in Afghanistan is coming home.

Twenty-nine-year-old Joseph Collette was killed during a mission March. His body arrived at Rickenbacker International Airport Wednesday morning and procession started shortly after making his way back home to Lancaster. 

Every person in this tight-knit community can agree on one thing when you mention soldier Joseph Collette: he is a hometown hero who will be dearly missed. 

Collette’s childhood neighborhood is covered with black and yellow ribbons as a thank you to the soldier.

A display of American flags stand in the front yard of his mother’s home and a sign that reads, ” MY SON STOOD WATCH SO YOU AND I MAY SLEEP BENEATH THE BLANKET OF FREEDOM.”

The outpouring of support for Collette’s family can be seen throughout this grieving community. 

“He served his country and he fought for our freedom,” said Janet Muralt, Owner of Colony Classics. 

Muralt came together with a friend to make ribbons to line the streets of downtown. 

“I thought this was the best thing I could do to get the appropriate ribbons and get it out to anybody that one of them,” said Muralt. 

Muralt has made dozens of ribbons placed downtown and although she did not know Collette personally, she says she feels a connection to him. 

“There are so many things in life that we take for granted they gave us this freedom to have what we have and we need to start appreciating it.”

City officials are expected hundreds of community members to line the streets to pay their respects during Wednesday’s procession. 

“Lancaster is a very tight-knit community. We have a very distinct sense of history and culture here. Whenever our community members are faced with any type of adversity we come together like a family,” said executive director of Destination Downtown Lancaster, Amanda Everitt. 

A family that wants to say thank you to a hometown hero. 

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