|Published:||Dec 23, 2010 4:56 AM EST|
|Updated:||Dec 23, 2010 12:29 AM EST|
FT. MYERS, Fla - It was a holiday surprise Staff Sgt. Thomas Graff will never forget.
Wednesday, he came home for the holidays after 11 months active duty.
You could see the smile on his face even before the truck pulled into the driveway. He had no idea about the surprise that awaited him.
"I saw the antennas from like a mile away, wondering what was going on," Graff said.
The home he left almost a year ago had transformed into a winter wonderland.
"It was just overwhelming pulling up and seeing all the people here and all the stuff going on," Graff said. "I'm just happy to see my family."
FPL teamed up with Forgotten Soldiers Outreach to give the home an energy-efficient holiday makeover. LED lights swirl around palm trees, ornaments hang from bushes, and snowflakes line the sidewalk.
"For us, this is one way to say thank you so much for helping keep our land safe and free and we are just so glad to welcome him home today," Charlotte Miller of FPL said.
On top of all of that, Thomas, his wife Grace and 2 year old daughter Gabriella are also getting a new energy-efficient laptop computer so they can video chat as often as they'd like.
"It's a blessing and we are just glad our prayers were answered and he is coming home safe and sound," Grace said.
Graff is part of the largest single-unit mobilization of the Florida National Guard since World War II, logging more than a million miles on Iraq's dangerous roads. His deployment forced him to miss a year's worth of holidays. This one leaves him with plenty to be thankful for.
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