Kim Johnson ReportingThey say all hearts go home for the holidays, and that's probably true for American soldiers fighting in Iraq. But a few lucky ones actually got to come home for Christmas, before they head to Iraq.
A Christmas leave on Christmas Eve. It's only three days, but the soldiers and families say they intend to enjoy every minute of it. The Peery family waited patiently for their best Christmas gift this year: a reunion with their son and brother Andrew.
Pauline Peery, Andrew's Mom: “It’s wonderful. You take any moment that you can with them because you never know when you’ll see them again.”
Specialist Peery is home from Fort Lewis, Washington where he's been preparing to go to Iraq.
Spc. Andrew Peery, United States Army Reserve: “I’m just glad to be doing what I do. Somebody’s got to do it and these people that do it, they’re some of the best in the world. I’m glad to be serving with them.”
Pauline Peery, Andrew's Mom: “Your heart always goes out to those who aren’t coming home to their families.”
Lieutenant Bryce Ostler is also headed to Iraq.
Lt. Bryce Ostler, United States Army Reserve: “It’s nice to get to come home and see the family before we leave. Of course I’ll miss them, but it’s just part of what we expected when we signed up.”
Ostler's sister never expected to see her brother this Christmas Eve. And 14-year old Jackie Hammond is thrilled to finally have her father home again.
Petty Officer Kipe Hammond, United States Navy: “I cam home last year at Christmas time, but I haven’t been home, been really home for about 20 months.”
And his daughter intends to make up for lost time.
Jackie Hammond: “He was supposed to come home last night, but with all the winter storms, he got delayed, and so he got to come home today. I’m excited.”
The Garff Foundation contributed the money for the soldier's plane tickets home.