Cook, Nebraska (Population 316) Welcomes Hero, 1st Lt. Wellensiek

“I swear the entire town wrote me, plus 200 I didn’t know.”

First Lt. Bret Wellensiek
Cook, Nebraska

The Lincoln airport broke into applause as 1st Lt. Bret Wellensiek was wheeled down the concourse.

About 40 people welcomed 1st Lt. Bret Wellensiek home at the Lincoln Airport Monday night. He returned to Cook for 30 days after being injured in Iraq and treated in San Antonio. (Teresa Prince)

The Lincoln airport passengers broke out into cheers when wounded First Lt. Bret Wellensiek was wheeled down the concourse:


First Lt. Bret Wellensiek came home late Monday night. The soldier from Cook kept his emotions in check as about 40 relatives, teachers, friends and loved ones greeted him just outside of security at the Lincoln Airport.

The crowd, most of whom were from Cook, population 316, held flags and signs and cameras — a hero’s welcome.

They laughed and smiled and shed tears.

“Welcome home, Bret,” they said in unison, followed by cheers.

Wellensiek, 24, wheeled through the crowd of familiar faces, greeting them, receiving hugs and kisses.

Just then, the airport passengers waiting for their luggage below broke out in applause as if to thank the soldier for serving their country.

Yes, he’s in a wheelchair and his legs are in bandages from a roadside bomb that struck his platoon May 30 south of Baghdad.

He suffered a fractured left heel and a collapsed lung, among other injuries.

But he still has his spirit, and he’s expected to make a full recovery.

Blackfive has more on 1st Lt. Bret Wellensiek.

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