Staff Sergeant Alex Ryder, 22, a 2008 graduate of Radnor High School, returned home to Radnor from serving in Afghanistan on Friday, April 27.
Three dozen people surprised Ryder when he was dropped off at the
Ryder was deployed in October, 2011, and was serving with the 270th Engineering Installation Squadron of the 111th Fighter Wing of the PA Air National Guard.
He is a student at West Chester University, where he studies business management.
Ryder comes from a long line of military.
His father Col. Andy Ryder, is retired Air Force. His grandfather, Lt Colonel Hal F. Ryder, was a D-Day veteran and founder of local Galaxy Tours (operated military tours for veterans for 40 years). His Great-Grandfather Andrew Thompson was a WWI Army veteran.
Alex’s father was on hand and planned the surprise welcome home with the assistance of Alex’s aunt, Sue Ryder-Scott. Both are also Radnor High graduates.
Alex’s mother, Debbie Ryder, of Rosemont was the first to get a hug from the returning soldier, said his aunt.
He was also greeted by his three young-step brothers (Adam, 9 – Aaron, 8 – Aidan 7) and his step-mother, Annette. His uncle, Dan Scott (husband to Sue), in tribute to Alex came dressed in his own uniform as a Lt. Commander, United Stated Public Health Service.
The largest numbers, however, came from the , where Alex was baptized and confirmed.
More than 30 members of Alex’s Church Family arrived with just six hours’ notice, including the church pastor, Rev. Joe DiPaolo, his wife, Sue, and daughter, Laura.