Millions across the country are celebrating Mother's Day. But for thousands of mothers whose sons or daughters are serving in Iraq Mother's Day was bittersweet. NewsChannel 11 helped one mother get a special surprise from her son in Iraq.
Sergeant First Class Joel Chavez E-mailed NewsChannel 11 all the way from Iraq, where he's been serving for the past six months. His request...to help him do something a little special for his mother, Adela who lives here in Lubbock. Since he can't be here to celebrate Mother's Day with her this year, he asked that we bring her a message.
"It's tough when you have a son or a daughter over there because you never know what's going to happen," explains Adela Chavez. She's spent much of her life supporting the military. Her husband was a sergeant in the army for 20 years, taking their family all around the world and now her son Joel Junior, is serving in Iraq.
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It's a sacrifice she says nothing could have prepared her for. "You know you're never ready. I told him, you're my only son. I wanted even to call the president and tell him he was my only son but he said mom, I have to go," she says.
That was six months ago, today she looks to her faith to get her through. "Well I just pray every day for God to give me courage until he comes back," says Adela.
But little does she know on this Mother's Day, NewsChannel 11 is really there to play a special message from Joel.
"Mom, I know I haven't called you in a long time, it's been about three weeks and I just want to send you a message and tell you I love you and I miss you. I have you in my heart and I love you a lot and I'll soon be home to give you hugs and kisses, thanks for your support," says Joel in a recorded message we play for his mother.
"It makes me feel good I can still hear him talking," reveals Adela after we play the message. It's a Mother's Day surprise from a son who says his mother's love and support has gotten him through his time in Iraq. "Without her, I would've never made it in the military. I want to thank her for being the best mother, without her I would never succeed in life," adds Joel.
Joel Sr. died in 1999 - the military father who influenced Joel's love for the army, Adela says she's certain her husband would share in the pride for his son's service. "I think his dad would be proud too if he was here. I'm proud of him, he's a great son," she adds.
Adela received one more Mother's Day surprise. She recently learned her son Joel will be visiting Lubbock in just a few days for some rest and relaxation. Good news for the Chavez Family.
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