A Coral Springs police officer returned to work Wednesday after finishing a deployment in Africa.
People lined up the street, cheering and waving American flags. Welcome home banners also hung from the Coral Springs Police Department to welcome back Officer Michael Zorrilla.
“(I’m) a little bit horrified, a little bit embarrassed, but very proud too, so I really appreciate it,” Zorrilla said.
Wednesday was Zorrilla’s first day back at work as a patrol officer for Coral Springs.
He spent the past year deployed in Africa with the National Guard, where he fought Islamic militants as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The year-long deployment was not easy for his family.
“It’s pretty tough, especially being a mom,” his mother, Blazina Zorrilla said. “You know, you want to have your kids, and knowing that he was so far away and not knowing what to expect. It was kind of scary.”
Michael Zorrilla’s parents and his wife worked with the Coral Springs Police Department to pull off the surprise, which was a bit of a payback.
Zorrilla returned home two days before he was expected, surprising his family on March 1, so they decided to return the favor.
“He had a look of terror on his face, like why are all these people here? But I think he figured it out pretty quickly,” Zorrilla’s wife, Patti, said.
Co-workers, city employees and residents of Coral Springs welcomed back their hometown hero, showing their appreciation and support for his sacrifice.
“I’m thrilled to be back,” Zorrilla said. “After being overseas, and all that, you really appreciate what you have back home.”
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