JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - 200 Region 8 soldiers are home for the holidays! No sleigh and no jingle bells were used in this holiday delivery!
"It's just exciting! It's just exciting again to see them," said Melissa Brown, the wife of a returning soldier.
"You're just like: I want to get home and see my wife because I know she's sitting there waiting at four in the morning," said Staff Sergeant Chris Brown.
Staff Sergeant Brown and his wife Melissa are ready for this time.
"I lied to the kids and told them he wasn't getting here until noon. We're going to go home and surprise them," said Melissa Brown.
For the family, this arrival is the perfect early present.
"I'm just going to spend as much time as I can with my wife and kids. If anybody wants to see me they've got to come to my house because I'm going to stay with my wife and kids," said Chris Brown.
"You spend every minute you can with them and you just cherish everything that you've got," said Melissa Brown.
Hard work and determination helped the families raise the $20,000 needed to bus the soldiers back home. As they spend the ten day break with their families these men can't help but think about what is coming.
"I can't imagine what it would be like for them with their dad coming home just for Christmas just to leave again for Afghanistan," said Chris Brown.
But no matter how long the stay or the goodbye they know is coming, none of the soldiers would trade this chance to spend the holidays with their families.
"This means everything to us. Some people say, 'Why would you want to say a second goodbye again?' but they're going to be gone for ten months so this is the last time we're going to get to see him until next November," said Melissa Brown.
"You know when you leave that first time to go do that training you're coming home for a few days but that second time you know you're not coming back before you go overseas so its the hardest goodbye there is," said Chris Brown.
And this next goodbye is one that will likely come too soon.
"Words can't describe home much we're going to cherish it because reality is you don't know if they're going to come back," said Melissa Brown.
The soldiers will head out right after the first of the year to head back to Fort McCoy Wisconsin.