After 12 years of service to his country including five tours in Afghanistan and one tour in Iraq, Staff Sergeant Michael Peveto of Orange finally had a party to welcome him home.

Kathy Peveto Block, his mother and organizer, said her son has been away from family including his young son and they wanted to hold an event to welcome him home. The party was held on Saturday, October 4 at The Orange Boat Club.

“We’re extremely proud of him. He’s a hero in our eyes. We can’t say thank you enough,” Block said.

Peveto said he was surprised, but added he knew something was up, saying with a grin on his face. “I’ve been in 12 years. You can’t get much pass me,” he said. “It’s good to be home. It’s been a year the last time I was home.”

Before he attended the party, in fact, Peveto ran in the Granger 5K Race that morning with a 70-pound sack on his back.

Peveto grew up in Orange and attended West Orange-Stark High School.

He joined the Army three months after 9/11. Two of his brothers retired from the Army and Peveto will do his 20 years too.

“He joined because he wanted to serve,” his mother said.

Peveto is a forward observer in the 82nd Airborne Division. He’s also completing his packet to become a warrant officer.

He was injured during his fourth tour in Afghanistan and received the Purple Heart and other awards. Block and the family said they’re thankful for technology such as Skype to keep in touch with Peveto.

Block also thanked Mike Lemoine with Spanky’s Bar & Grill for supplying the meat at the party, Eaton Meats in Nederland for supplying the links and Steve Toal for securing the boat club.