Neighborhood rallies around Army veteran during deployment

Neighborhood rallies around Army veteran during deployment


by BILL MCGINTY / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @billwcnc

Posted on May 16, 2013 at 11:36 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 21 at 12:56 PM

CHARLOTTE, NC -- What does it mean to be a good neighbor? On Brotherly Lane in Charlotte, it’s all about having someone watching your back.

Pat and Steve Massa have been on duty for the last nine months, serving their neighbor, Army Staff Sgt. Bobby Bridget, who has been away in Afghanistan serving our country.

"We got the community together and placed flags out on the mailboxes, every house has a flag," Pat and Steve Massa said. 
Today is a big day, Bridget is coming home from his third and final tour, years spent looking for, and disarming roadside bombs, also known as IED’s. 

It’s dangerous work that is much appreciated by his country and his neighbors who have returned the favor by mowing Bridget’s yard every week he was gone.

“Whatever we did to ours, we did to theirs, it was the least we could do for someone who is serving our country,” Steve Massa said.

In a moment, you’ll learn why that effort is so appreciated, but first, the anticipation of the moment is building, Bridget’s car finally heads down the street, met here in his neighborhood with cheers and the colors of home.
Back at home on U.S. soil, his soil, and it feels and looks really good. 

“I’m just so happy to be home, it’s been a long time,” Bridget said.

His mother, like any mother, is thrilled.
“He’s no longer a baby, but he is your baby," she said. “He is my baby and even when he is 75 he’ll be my baby, he’s homes safe, yes, yes.”
It’s warm handshakes and hugs to his neighbors and friends, the Messas, who have kept his yard Army green while he was away fighting, were also fighting a personal battle.
Steve suffered from prostate cancer and Pat suffered from colon cancer.

“First, I had prostate cancer,” Steve said.

"Then they found the cancer and a week later I went in and they took out four feet of my colon, just 3 weeks ago," Pat said.

Both suffering from cancer, and both continuing to honor their neighbor’s sacrifice in a war zone. Their struggle did not go unnoticed by Bridget’s wife Rhonda.

“Looking out for your brother, yes, yes they were," she said.
And so today, in the neighborhood appropriately called Reunion, it’s the returning solider who decorates his neighbor for a job well done. 

The Massa’s were given a plaque and a flag that flew in Afghanistan.