PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- An injured soldier from Maine is receiving a hero's welcome as she comes home for the holidays. Sgt. Helaina Lake of Livermore Falls arrived at the Portland Jetport just before noon Tuesday.
Sergeant Lake looked overwhelmed by the outpouring as she was wheeled through the Portland Jetport. Her family and close friends were waiting upstairs, applauding as she came out, then giving her hugs one by one.
Downstairs, more well-wishers were waiting, applauding as she and her family made their way to the stretch limousine that took her to a gathering in Jay. The Portland and South Portland fire departments escorted the caravan to the Maine Turnpike.
Sergeant Lake says the support her family and community have given her since she was injured by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on June 20th has been amazing. This welcome was a lot for her to take in.
"I don't feel like I deserve it," Sgt. Lake said. "There's so many people who deserve it more than me. The lives that were lost the day I got injured, I feel like they're the heroes. I think they deserve it."
The welcome continued well after Sgt. Lake left the Jetport. Community members lined the streets in Lake's home town of Livermore Falls and in Jay, where there was a gathering in her honor at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Students from the Sprice Mountain School held signs greeting her as the limo pulled in across the street.
Both Lake and her brother and sister, who met her at the Jetport, say they have no specific plans. They're just looking forward to being together.
But Lake's homecoming is relatively short-lived. She has more surgeries ahead of her, and she'll have to return to Washington in January.