Navy officer receives hero's welcome in Oviedo after returning from COVID-19 deployment

It was a homecoming for a hero. U.S. Navy Lt.Cmdr. Thomas Judd returned home to Oviedo after being called to duty doing coronavirus response in New York City.

“I loved doing it, I really did,” Judd said, “only because I knew I was making a difference.”

Judd was based at the Navy's makeshift field hospital, set-up inside Manhattan’s Javits Convention Center, surrounded by hundreds of patients recovering from COVID-19 infections.

“I had so much gear on that I knew if I did what I had to do, put the gear on, I knew that I was safe with them,” he said.

Surrounded by friends and well-wishers at his neighborhood in Oviedo, the city's mayor, Megan Sladek, declared Saturday a day in his honor.

“Tomorrow is Tom Judd Day throughout the City of Oviedo and I hope that all of you here will help him celebrate,” Sladek said, “not a whole lot of people who've been called to the heart of this pandemic to try making things better for other people. I'm just glad to be part of welcoming him home.”

Judd stayed in quarantine for two weeks and twice tested negative for the coronavirus before coming home. His wife Michele said it was great to have him back. “I missed him a lot, even though I have support from everybody that lives here. And I'm proud of him.”

Judd said if he had to, he'd do it all again. “I'd do that in a heartbeat again.”

Now safely back home, Lt.Cmdr. Judd says his plans were simple: he was just looking forward to a home-cooked meal, once again.