GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- For seven years, the Patriot Guard Riders have been waiting in airports across Michigan welcoming home anyone who has served. It is called Operation Handshake and from noon to 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving eve, volunteers gathered to extend a welcome home to all veterans.
Tony Van Gessel, a senior ride captain for the patriot guard, stands with flag in hand waiting at a terminal exit for veterans to come down. He salutes, he claps, and shakes the hand of anyone who has served along with many of his colleague.
"We are here at the Kent County airport welcoming home soldiers," explains Van Gessel. "It is a thing we have been doing for a few years."
It is not just patriot guard riders holding flags, the Boy Scouts have come down as well. Young Cody Faas stands in uniform shaking hands. "We are here to welcome the soldiers back and honor them for their service."