On January 8, Army 1st Lt. Chuck Nadd left his eight-month mission in Afghanistan to come home. He knew he’d be greeted by his girlfriend. But he didn’t know his hometown — and Budweiser cameras — were waiting for him, too.
Thanks to careful coordination with girlfriend Shannon Cantwell, Lt. Nadd thought he was flying to Florida to speak at the VFW. Hidden cameras caught the airport homecoming between Cantwell and Lt. Nadd and followed the couple to the site where an old-fashioned ticker-tape parade awaited.
Viewers get a front-row seat to the surprise parade sponsored by the VFW and Budweiser in the Army officer’s hometown of Winter Park, FL, with marching bands, antique vehicles, the VFW motorcycle club, and the Budweiser Clydesdales.
Check out Lt. Nadd’s reaction when he sees his mom around 0:42. She secretly flew in from Alabama and was waiting to close out the surprise at the end of the parade.
The homecoming provided so much great footage that Budweiser extended the 30-second ad to 60 seconds during the editing process. Budweiser released the spot, titled “A Hero’s Welcome,” exclusively to active and retired military Thursday.
The Super Bowl Sunday premiere will launch a year-long digital campaign by Budweiser to encourage their consumers to honor the military. Lt. Nadd, a 2011 West Point graduate, was honored to help kick it off.
“I think it’s a neat opportunity for America to think about the folks coming home and everything folks have given up to get to this point,” Lt. Nadd said. “So many have given so much more than me. They’re the real heroes. … Those with two, three, four, or more deployments, those seriously injured, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our amazing Republic — those are the real heroes.”
In February 2013, Lt. Nadd graduated from flight school in Fort Rucker, AL, where he trained to become a Black Hawk helicopter pilot. He’s been deployed in Afghanistan since.
Budweiser also produced a five-minute web documentary on Lt. Nadd that highlights his background, family, friends, and the campaign details. You can watch it below.
Cantwell works for Alabama Senator Richard Shelby as a legislative correspondent and deputy press secretary. She said she nominated Lt. Nadd in hopes it would inspire communities across America to salute the men and women in uniform who daily give themselves to defend freedom.
“Both Chuck and I feel so blessed to have this opportunity,” Cantwell said.