LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - This time of year is full of joy and togetherness, but unfortunately that’s not the case for those with loved ones deployed in the military.
“I’ll be home for Christmas,” those words, pinned during World War II, resonate with so many families and their loved ones in the military.
Just as those in uniform wish to be home with their loved ones, their families long to see them home.
“This is not our first go around, but this is the first one with all three kids,” said Corrin Aguillard.
Aguillard is no stranger to her husband Corey being away for Christmas.
As an army staff sergeant, Corey is about to embark on his second deployment overseas.
“It’s scary, especially in the infantry. They’re your frontline guys, and I have anxiety about it, but you know, I’m proud, too… It’s not the best situation, but we kind of knew it was happening. We had a year to prepare.”
Another Lake Area family that won’t see their loved one for Christmas is Michelle and David Farque.
Their son, Keelan, decided to join the Army National Guard a year and a half ago as a junior in high school.
“Well, we were shocked” …”shocked, yes. He came home and said he wanted to join, and we were like, ‘really?’,” said Michelle and David.
“It took us a few months to be convinced, and then we met with the recruiter, and we felt comfortable, so we went ahead and signed because he was 17,” Michelle explained.
Farque came home from training two days after Hurricane Laura...then received the call.
“About two weeks later, they called him and said, ‘you’re being deployed for a year.’” David informed.
“For a year in the middle east, and we were like, ‘what?’ We were like, ‘no,’ but of course we can’t say no. He was like, ‘momma, this is what I signed up for.’ I was like, ‘wow! Just, wow.’”
They can’t wait for the day they’re reunited.
“I just can’t imagine. I just can’t wait because I feel like he was already gone for so long, and we didn’t hardly have any time back with him, and then he’s gone again, so it’s tough. Like I said, he’s our only kid.”
One of the fortunate families that will get to have their marine corps son home for Christmas is Jamie and Luke Rhodes.
However, Hurricane Laura has put a damper on the family’s reunion; construction on their new house has slowed significantly since the hurricane.
“Him coming home with no place is a little depressing, so we’re fingers crossed next couple of days, we’ll be able to move in,” said Jamie.
William Rhodes is a second-generation marine, which means a lot to his father.
“To have another generation that you can pass that brotherhood on to, that’s actually blood, there’s just a joy I can’t describe. I’m so proud of him and his choice to serve,” expressed Luke.
He did get to come home briefly for the birth of his firstborn son in September.
All three of these families long to be reunited with their military loved ones for many reasons.
“He’s serious when he has to be, but usually, he’s just a big goofball,” says Augillard.
“He makes me laugh, oh, he makes me laugh. He makes me mad, but, oh, he makes me laugh,” said Michelle Farque.
“He is a joker. There is not a moment of his life, I think, that is completely serious. Everything is sprinkled with sarcasm.,” said Luke Rhodes. “He’s one of those guys that just brings a smile to everybody’s face. I don’t think there’s many people who would say anything negative about him.”
On the really rough days, these families know how to lift their spirits.
The Aguillard family plans on writing to stay in touch, “we’re going to write letters. Do it the old fashion way. I have a stack of letters from when he was in basic training and a stack from his first deployment, and we’ll add another stack to this one.”
“You know, we’re all going to feel that loss, but once it’s passed, then, you know, we’ll be okay.”
The Farques hold onto their letters as well.
“It’s been rough. I can go back through letters he’s written. That’s another thing from bootcamp and his AIT and stuff, he had to write letters. That was our only way to communicate, so I have all those, and it helps.”
“It’s been a journey, but it’s been a good journey. We’re so proud of him, so it’s a good thing.”
The Rhodes say that while it’s tough, there is a reason for everything, and they have to keep their faith.
“Just leaving that all up to God because ultimately, he’s in control, and if we have faith and believe in that, it can put your soul at ease. It can put you at peace. That parental instinct: you want to protect them, and you can’t. You have to lean on your faith. You have to lean on your faith.”
“Knowing that it’s going to better his future, it makes you at ease, and know that it’s for a purpose.”