Young local veteran hosts very first Thanksgiving - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Young local veteran hosts very first Thanksgiving

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Twenty-four-year-old Bray Harris is an active member of the Louisiana Army National Guard and after years of training and deployments, including a nine-month stint in Afghanistan, he found himself back in Lake Charles last year in the heat of adversity.

"I got back on the eve of Thanksgiving and I came home to my mom having a heart attack and my dad having prostate cancer and I came home to care give," said Harris. "I thought I was going to be in Lake Charles for a month or two then end up moving to Arizona or Colorado and as luck would have it, I just fell in love with being back home."

Falling back in love with the people, foods and of course, the family of Southwest Louisiana, he recently became a new homeowner. Now, living his own version of the American dream, he's hosting Thanksgiving for the first time for his family in honor of his dad who passed earlier this year. Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday.

"My dad taught me how to cook and this is my first Thanksgiving without him and his legacy and memories are living on in the dishes that I've prepared today," Harris said.

As he put the finishing touches on those dishes, with the smells lighting up the kitchen, he took a minute to reflect on what it all means.

"Thanksgiving is just a symbol of all of the great blessings and joys that we experience in life," said Harris. "It's a reflection of how we can be resilient in difficult times and remember that we still have something to be thankful for."

It's wasn't the food or the house, but the family that Harris says makes his first Thanksgiving truly special.

"I'm so blessed to have wonderful people, family and friends in my life," he said. 

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