A Thanksgiving Homecoming for South Plains Family - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/27/03

A Thanksgiving Homecoming for South Plains Family

For the Santos family, Thursday is more than just a day to give thanks. It's a day to celebrate as a soldier returns from Iraq, just in time for the holidays. This year's Thanksgiving brings a soldier home from Iraq. Lieutenant Daniel Santos, the youngest of 17 has always known that he was destined for a life in the military

Daniel said that it's all about honor, integrity, selflessness, service and duty. A duty to support his country and to bring honor to his family. His sister says that he's was in Iraq not just for himself but for his family and they are very proud of him. "It's a dangerous job where we're at [Iraq] and you don't know if you're going to make it home sometimes. We have soldiers who aren't going to be here this Thanksgiving because they made the ultimate sacrifice," Daniel explains.

Daniel says that his biggest fear while in Iraq was the prospect of not coming back and not seeing his loved ones ever again. Prayer and faith got Daniel and his family through the long eight months he was in Iraq. "There's a lot of prayer and I think my faith and the good Lord blessed me in a lot of ways," he said. His sisters say that Daniel is their hero. But to Daniel, his hero didn't fight in the war. "My wife had a difficult job raising three kids without me, pretty much a single mother while I was gone for eight months."

Daniel's wife, Johnnie, says that she has never spent so much time in prayer as she did during those eight months. But Daniel wasn't alone in his return, his was shared with 300 soldiers who also came home to their families. "You just felt that feeling of just pride then they come marching in and you know that they've seen terrible things and they come in just proud and strong and thinner, said Johnnie.

His sisters say that having home is like Christmas and Thanksgiving all together.

Lieutenant Daniel Santos is a Texas Tech Alum. He is stationed in Fort Sill, Oklahoma but looks forward to spending a few more days with his family here in West Texas.

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