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7's HERO: Community honors Air Force airman on leave in Idaho with birthday parade

Senior Airman Joe Cox said he was blown away when surprised with a patriotic birthday parade in front of his family home in Meridian.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — Senior Airman Joseph Cox is a proud member of the United States Air Force, but said sometimes being in the military can be tough. He would be the first to say that one of the hardest parts is being stationed on a base far away from family. Joe is stationed in South Dakota. This summer, he got to come home to Idaho for his 24th birthday. 

"It's just awesome to be home and be with my family, and actually spend a birthday with them for once," Joe said. "Birthday on base is difficult because you have people from all walks of life there, and you might not have any friends when you get to your first base." 

Laurie Cox, Joe's mom, decided to do something extra special for her airman while he was here. She said it took some planning. She wanted to put together a birthday parade on their street for him, and she posted it on the neighborhood app Next Door.

"It blew up. This community has been absolutely amazing," Laurie said. "It was unreal. We never expected that. When we put this on Next Door, we thought we'd get a couple responses, I got 400 responses!" 

Joe said he could not believe his eyes when he saw the parade of cars in front of his house.  

"It was so surreal, I wasn't expecting it," Joe said. "I thought I was just going to have some cake and some fun, and then everyone started showing up!" 

Car after car filled with families drove by with handmade posters and even gifts. There was honking and cheering. Joe said he wanted to thank each car. 

"I feel proud and happy. I haven't been this happy in a long time," he said. 

There was also a whole parade of motorcycles. Some of the people came up to him and thanked him for his service. 

"It's awesome I can't describe the feeling, it's surreal," Joe said. 

Many people thanked him for his service, including other veterans. 

"That's what Idaho is all about, the people here are amazing," Joe's dad, Tom Cox said. "He's trying to get transferred here because of the people here, it's just an awesome place. He's my son, but he's one of the best men I've ever met. He's just a special person and he deserves this; he never asks for anything. It's neat for him to be on the receiving end of something for once."  

He said it was a birthday he will never forget. 

"Thanks to everyone, it's been so great," Joe said. "I love you too guys, thank you so much for coming out." 

The Cox family wanted to thank everyone who showed up for the special celebration, and who sent messages of support. They said it meant the world to Joe. 

"We are just super proud of him we love him so much," Laurie said. 

Joe returned to duty, on base, in South Dakota. He said he hopes to transfer to Mountain Home Air Force Base one day, to be closer to family, and all his new friends.

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