It was an emotional homecoming for a North Fort Myers family. After months overseas, a father and husband gets 2 weeks home. Bryan Moistner has been deployed with the Largest Florida National Guard deployment ever for the state. While he's faced with an incredibly difficult and stressful task over there, he says the real hero in his family is back here.
When American Airlines flight 4913 touched down, the minutes felt like an eternity as Bryan Moistner's family waited for their hero. "He's a wonderful guy," his wife Gwen said. "He'd give you the shirt off his back."
One glimpse of the uniform, and they took off. Strangers stood up and clapped while the family hugged and wiped away tears.
"She went through a lot without me," Bryan said. "It's good to be back with my family."
Being away means you miss a lot - the good and the bad. Bryan had to deploy after his lawn business fell victim to the recession. His wife Gwen was not only left to care for their 6 kids, she also had to deal with the loss of her mother and stepfather within 2 months after he deployed. His family calls him the hero, but he says that title belongs to his wife.
"We get the glory for it, but really it's our families that hold us together while we're over there," Bryan said.
Last week, President Obama declared an end to American combat operations in Iraq. It's a war that cost the U.S. nearly a trillion dollars and more than 4,400 brave lives. Bryan says the news relives a lot of stress, but they know it's not over yet, and they need all the support they can get.
"If you have a military loved one, send them a card. send them something because we look forward to that. It's like a piece of home. It's wonderful," Bryan said.
March was the last time he got to hug his wife and kids. His family hopes his next flight home will mean he's here for good.
"I would love for it to all be over so that everyone can have their family back," Gwen said.
Bryan said he wants to thank Operation Open Arms for giving him tickets and things to enjoy with his family for these next 2 weeks... 2 weeks they're all hoping will go by very, very slowly.