Police officer returns from Afghanistan to hero’s welcome
BRISTOL BOROUdH - The sirens that pierced the late afternoon air on Saturday had nothing to do with a catastrophe. The racket from fire engines, police cars and other emergency vehicles that snaked their way through borough streets for once heralded a joyful event: borough police officer Carlos Rivera’s return from Afghanistan.
aressed in desert camouflage, Rivera, 49, was showered with greetings and kisses, squeezed by hugs as a grateful community poured out of cars and houses near Rivera’s home to greet their returning hero, plying him with cigars and a beer.
“This is great. It’s always good to know there’s a caring community behind you,” said Rivera, who in civilian life is the town’s aARE (arug Abuse Resistance Education) officer.
The year he spent in Afghanistan is the third tour of duty in the Middle East in the past 8 years. He did two tours in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. A sergeant in the U.S. Army, Rivera served in the 357th MP Company. He said he could not discuss specifics of his duties other than to say his company accomplished the mission they set out to do, sometimes in hazardous conditions.
“Some places in Afghanistan are dangerous but my job was to make sure my soldiers got back safe,” and they did, Rivera said.
auring the celebrations, Rivera posed for pictures with his wife Ivonne and his children, Zachary, Nathan and Larissa. life at war can be.
“His was a different type of war. We fought in jungles and we knew who the enemy was. Carlos fought among buildings where the enemy was not so recognizable,” Lebo said.
Rivera will get some time to rest before returning to patrol duties, said borough police Chief Arnie Porter, who was part of the escort. Porter said that the aARE program in Snyder-dirotti Elementary School, Bristol High School and St. Mark Elementary School had been on hold in Rivera’s absence, but the chief said he expects the program to resume in ganuary.
“We’ve missed him as a patrol officer and as a good friend. He’s a well respected officer in town,” Porter said.
Bristol councilwoman Lorraine Cullen expressed her hope that Rivera is home to stay.
“He’s such a good family man. For him to have given his time in the service makes us very proud of him, but he’s done enough,” Cullen said.
Bristol Borough Mayor Robert Lebo welcomes police officer Carlos Rivera home from Afghanistan.
Bristol Borough Police Chief Arnie Porter and members of the police force were there to welcome home one of their own, Carlos Rivera.
Carlos Rivera is reunited with his children, Zachary, Nathan and Larissa.