Like little beacons of light illuminating a path, yellow ribbons are popping up outside of homes and businesses around Oconee County.
Members of the community are making plans to line Main Street in Bogart and wave flags.
is coming home for the holidays.
The 22-year-old Marine was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan when he was injured from an IED blast June 12. The explosion resulted in bilateral amputation of his legs below the knee and other injuries and he has spent the last six months recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, learning to walk all over again.
Michael's family is thrilled with the news that he will be on a 30-day convalescent leave starting next week, said his father, Jim Boucher. Afterward, Michael will have to return to the hospital for probably at least another six months of treatment, he said.
Michael and his sister, Britany, are expected to arrive in Bogart around 4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15. and all are invited to welcome them home, family friend Stacey Sullivan said.
Boucher is hoping members of the community will surprise his son by placing yellow ribbons in their yards or outside of their businesses as a "small wow."
Any yellow ribbon will do, but, if you don't aleady have one, a ribbon may be ordered from for a discounted price of $5. So far, a steady stream of orders has been coming in, owner Lynne Yarbrough said on Thursday. Someone had even placed an order for 200 ribbons.
Because the community has come together to support the Bouchers in countless ways, the family wants to show their gratitude by holding a reception on Saturday, Dec. 17 from 1-3 p.m in the cafeteria at , Jim Boucher said.
And, since Michael is a graduate of NOHS, it seemed like the perfect place, he said. It's a chance for loved ones and friends to see Michael again and for others to meet him.
"It's for Michael to say, 'hey, I'm back in town, thanks for the prayers and good wishes!'" he said.
A chaplain, patriot guard member and Michael and his father each will say a few words at the beginning of the reception. There will also be plenty of food and fellowship.
The fellowship continues Sunday at, where another reception will be held following the 11 a.m. worship service. Church members have been especially supportive of the family from the moment they learned of Michael's injuries, Boucher said.
But planning a welcome home celebration is only a small part of the preparation that has been taking place for his son's return, he said. and have been funding renovations to their home, making it more accessible for Michael. His room and a bathroom are almost ready to go.
"We're working feverishly to have things done for when he comes back," Boucher said. "Things seem to be coming together."
Read about Michael's progress on his CaringBridge website.
"We thank God he's alive," Boucher said. One of Michael's tent mates wasn't so fortunate. "We're thankful to have our son to hold."