Non-profit works to send airmen home for holidays

Published: Sep. 28, 2015 at 10:04 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 12, 2015 at 11:07 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - One non-profit organization is helping airmen reunite with their families for the upcoming holidays.

You may remember back in July, the group "The Warrior Network" out of Shreveport-Bossier City assisted a military family that was involved in a fatal car accident in Kentucky. They now have their sights set on the holidays.

The new non-profit is planning an event to donate money to Operation Bright Holiday. It's an initiative to send soldiers home for the holidays. Director of The Warrior Network, Trey McGuire said during the holidays, it's hard to be away from family. That's the gap they hope to bridge.

"The lack of family, the lack of connection, the lack of genuine relationships is a lot of the reasons why we started this organization, said McGuire."

Operation Bright Holiday was established in 2008. Chairman Monique Roux said in their first year, they sent home 9 airmen, but the program has grown by leaps and bounds since then.

"Last year, we sent home 97 airman, and we raised $43,000. We had an immense amount of community support, and that's really what's taken this program to the next level. The community getting involved," she said.

Roux recalls the story she said touched her the most from last year. Due to privacy reasons, we were not able to interview the airman, but Roux told us his story.

She said an airman serving at Barksdale Air Force Base, over 7,000 miles away from his family in Saipan, wanted to go home for the holidays.

"He has a brother in high school, his father is over there. His mother was deceased unfortunately, and early in the year last year his father found out he had cancer," she explained.

Roux says the airman had no extra money because he was sending every extra dollar to his family to help.

"He didn't want his brother to have to quit school to work. He didn't want his father to have the extra stress of trying to provide for his family on top of the medical bills."

So the group made his dream come true, and sent the airman home. He arrived very early in the morning to surprise his family.

"His father was in tears, his brother was so excited, and he had a good long visit with his family," she said. "Bringing that support back to his family physically, and emotionally being there for them in a time that was really difficult meant a great deal not only to the airman, but also to his family."

The Warrior Network is holding a BBQ on October 17 at the Arthur Ray Teague Boat launch from 11:00am - 2:00pm to raise money for Operation Bright Holiday. You can also make a donation on their website at anytime by clicking here.

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