A Shelter Island Marine received a big welcome home on Sunday evening. Marine Lance Cpl. Michael "Zach" Mundy flew into Newark Airport on Sunday afternoon from his base in Hawaii, after returning from a tour in Afghanistan.
Mundy grew up on Shelter Island with , killed in action two years ago, and Theinert's parents requested a motorcade escort Mundy back home. The Long Island Chapter of US Veterans MC and Patriot Guard motorcycles formed a procession for him all the way.
According to an email that was posted on the USVMC Facebook page, Theinert's mother, Chrys Kestler, wrote in her request that there is a strong bond between the two families. Mundy's father, Michael Mundy Sr., had been her sons' basketball coach and he eulogized her son at his funeral. Mike Mundy Jr. graduated Shelter Island High School Class of 2010, just two weeks after Theinert's funeral.
"We followed the stories of his boot camp experience and assignment to duty in Hawaii. We worried when he deployed as we, and all of the Shelter Island community, now knew the truth about deployments. Not everyone comes home the way we want them too," Kestler said.
Mundy was deployed to Garmsir, Afganastan, last year.
"Thank God he returned home safely," Kestler wrote. "What makes this return so personal for me is that we were not able to welcome Joe home the way we wanted to. Mike and Rebecca have loaned Michael Jr. to us and on more than one occasion told us that he is 'ours,'" she said. "Mike Jr.’s return to Newark airport will be the first return we are able to attend — in some way it is like Mike Jr. is standing in for our Joey."
JoAnn Lyles, whose son Marine Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter was killed in Iraq in 2008, organized a group to meet the procession as it crossed the bridge from Sag Harbor to North Haven that was named after her son.
When Mundy arrived at the South Ferry on North Haven, he boarded the ferry named for Theinert.