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LOGAN -- While some military families celebrate with loved ones who are home for the holidays, one Utah military family is enjoying a holiday surprise.
Joseph Bannister, who has been away from his family for three deployments to Iraq, often missing holidays, was surprised to see thousands of Christmas lights adorning his home Thursday.
One local company, Christmas Décor, wanted to make sure the Bannister family would enjoy the holidays while everyone was together.
"I'm surprised how much they did," said 10-year-old Marcella Bannister. "It's really nice."
The crew from Christmas Décor arrived Thursday morning to light up the Bannister home, decorating the exterior of the house, the trees and the yard.
Joseph Bannister said it was a welcome surprise that should make this Christmas with his family all the more special. Referencing his daughter, Bannister said, "She's definitely going to remember this for a long time, I'm sure."
Prior to one of Bannister's three tours in Iraq, he and his wife discovered they were expecting.
"I told him, ‘their heartbeats are strong.' " Bannister's wife Carmella Bannister said. "He was like, ‘what do you mean their heartbeats?' And I was like, ‘well, they're twins.' "
We're just happy to do it for the families. It makes us feel good, and they really enjoy it. It's a nice way for us to give back to the community.
Bannister got to come home for the delivery, but had to finish the last six months of his deployment, while leaving his family in Germany.
"The hardest part was when I had to leave them and go back," Bannister described.
"I was juggling three kids and no other family over there," Carmella Bannister added.
The employees at Christmas Décor said they donate their time for military families to thank them for their sacrifices.
"We're just happy to do it for the families," said Robert Dent of Christmas Décor. "It makes us feel good, and they really enjoy it. It's a nice way for us to give back to the community."
"For our children to be able to have the memory of having something so beautifully done, and during the Christmas season, it's just awesome," said Carmella Bannister.
Christmas Décor franchises around the country have the option of participating in the holiday program. The location in Logan said they usually try to give the decorations to at least one military family and sometimes to a struggling family.