Family Gets A Special Message From Their Son In Iraq - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/29/03 - Longview

Family Gets A Special Message From Their Son In Iraq

That story gave family their Christmas wish. This was the first Christmas Bryan Hensley he had ever been away from his Longview home. The family thought the holiday season would come and go without hearing from him, but Monday they did.

The message began, "Dad and Kathy, mom and Bob," It ended with wishing his family happy holidays. 

It was a gift from Bryan that came four days late.   But it was treasured just the same. "Oh it's great. It's one of the most wonderful Christmas presents we could've gotten," says Bryan's dad Roy.

"All the family was here for Christmas and we were all hoping he would call but we said a prayer," says Bryan's step mother, Kathy.   Finally getting to not just talk with him by phone, but to see he is doing well eased the fears they have learned to live with.

"We stay on pins and needles. We think he's stationed somewhere around Fallujah.  Something happens around Fallujah we get real nervous," says Roy.

Christmas only made the family miss and worry about him more. Each night Roy goes into his son's room to leave the light on. 

"He would go in there every night and get emotional and it bothered me. We both love Christmas so much and I went out and bought a new comforter, it was all Christmas. Put a tree in there. Everything was decorated so when anybody walks in there you have to smile. You can't cry or be sad," says Kathy.

Though there were plenty of tears shed Monday the sadness was replaced with joy.  Bryan is scheduled to come home from Iraq sometime in may. His family says they are already planning a huge welcome home celebration in his honor.

Amy Tatum reporting.

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