Bert Brady doesn't know who exactly was the millionth soldier to pass through the Dallas-Fort Worth airport returning from duty, but to him it doesn't matter. The Army veteran greets them all the same.
For the past four years, Brady has been there for the nation's heroes as they arrive in the terminal on leave from places like Iraq and Afghanistan. He offers a smile, word of thanks, maybe a cell phone to call family or often just a hug. In the first days of 2011, Brady and his fellow volunteers at the 'Welcome Home a Hero' program reached that milestone, greeting their millionth soldier.
Watch "World News with Diane Sawyer" for more on this story tonight on ABC.
"We have to support them. We simply have to support them," said Brady, 73. "They're our heroes and more important even than that, their wives and families are our heroes. They suffer just as badly as anybody."
Every day in Dallas, as many as 275 soldiers pass through the airport coming home for two weeks of rest and recuperation. Bert Brady and his volunteers have never missed a single one, even if it means greeting them at 3 in the morning.
Today, the thousands of volunteer greeters were honored for their work. Folks ranging from Boy Scouts to military generals come out to give soldiers a warm reception, something that almost never happened for veterans of wars in Vietnam and Korea.
"It feels so good," Brady said, calling it a "privilege" to be there.
ABC's "World News" recognized Brady as our Person of the Week in 2007 when his organization was preparing to greet its 500,000th soldier. Today, Brady says many of the soldiers have become all-too-familiar faces, returning from as many as four tours of duty.
Still, Brady said, their attitudes never seem to waiver.
"In fact, I hear no complaints," he said. "They're very optimistic, they're very upbeat, and they are honored to serve their country."
And the soldiers on the other end, accepting Brady's warm handshake, are grateful to be welcomed home. In 2007, our cameras watched as one soldier was moved to tears by Brady's gesture.
"It's just nice to be home. But, I mean, we know they took time out of their day, you know, to be here."