Every year, NewsChannel 11 puts holiday greetings from our soldiers overseas on the airwaves. This year, one family's reaction to seeing their son pop up on television has particularly touched us here at the station.
Connie Hernandez' son, Fabian Martinez, is in the Air Force and served his country in Iraq. Before this week, his family hadn't seen his face in months. That's when a small Christmas miracle happened. Fabian popped up on TV to relay his military, holiday greeting. Connie says, "It got kind of emotional because I haven't seen him since March this year. He came down last year in March for a visit for 30 days and came home and when he went back they told him he was going to be going to Iraq." Chris Hernandez, Fabian's stepfather says, "It was good to see him on TV like she said we hadn't seen him since March."
For Fabian, joining the military had been a dream for years. He joined straight out of high school at the age of 17. His loving mother supported him wholeheartedly, but she goes through the same worry all military moms do. Connie explains, "Every day you hear about someone getting shot and killed and I feel for the families. Some of them are losing their sons and I just keep praying that mine stays safe. Chris says, "It has just been hard having to help support her and keep her spirits up, especially because there were times when we'd go a month without hearing from him."
Watching Fabian's TV holiday greeting eased some of his family's fears. Now, they are looking forward to his next visit home. Connie knows exactly what she'll do when her son is standing before her in the flesh. She says she'll "Give him the biggest hug I could even give and probably sit there and cry with him and cook, cook, cook!"
Fabian's family can breath a small sigh of relief. He is now stationed in England and will visit his family this April. We had the pleasure of talking to Fabian on the phone and he says he's long overdue for a big dose of family.