NewsChannel 11 has introduced you to Sandra Perkins several times over the last few weeks. Her son, Alex Villapudua has been fighting on the front lines in Iraq since the bombs started falling. And as news unfolds, from fierce battle to heroic rescues, for Sandra, it's been an emotional roller coaster.
"He graduated boot camp in San Diego on September 6 and I thought that would be the most emotional time of my life, no, it doesn't come close," says Sandra.
That was Sandra Perkins three weeks ago, when the war first began, and since then the emotions have continued to mount. "At first I was really nervous about Alex going over there and I know he talked about dying before he left," says Sandra.
Now, those conversations about death are far from her mind. "Seeing all the joy and gratitude from the Iraqi people, it changed my mind. I'm not so nervous anymore."
Since the U.S. entered Baghdad, Sandra has funneled those nerves into one thing. "Pride, a lot of pride," says Sandra. That's because her son at just 18 years of age, joined the Marines, freed a country in turmoil. And just this week, he helped rescue seven pow's along with the rest of the Marines Third Light Armored Recon Unit.
"Oliver North came on. He's embedded with the First Marine Expeditionary Unit and he said that the 3rd LAR was in front of them and that they were the ones that recovered the pows and I went 'Yeah, Alex!." Heroic efforts, that Sandra always knew her son was capable of.
"I just stood there and said way to go Alex you made it! How do you pick a word or a few words to describe the feelings you have for your son who has done as much as he's done," says Sandra.
She says if she had to sum up her feelings about her son in one word-it would be hero. She says her hero may be finally coming home. Though she hasn't heard from him in almost two weeks, she's hoping Alex is in one of the first groups to leave Iraq and be back in the states in about a month.