ALBANY, GA (WALB) - As many people count down to Christmas, there will be some empty seats at some dinner tables across the United States come Thursday.
Thousands of brave men and women are away supporting our country in the military. But sadly many will never make it home.
One Dougherty County mom-to-be continues to mourn the loss of her husband to a freak accident in Iraq. We brought her some small tokens that may help get her through the holidays.
Stamped with red, white and blue, an envelope mailed with love recently arrived at WALB-TV. Inside the envelope were colorful cards addressed to an American hero. "Dear family of a hero. I hope you have better days. I am praying for you," reads one of the cards.
In pencil, crayon, and marker, the strong words come from South Georgia 1st graders about Private First Class Theron Hobbs. Another card reads, "Mr. Hobbs did a wonderful job saving our country. I hope you feel better soon."
"That's cute," said Kimberly Hobbs after reading the card.
PFC Hobbs was killed in November when a vehicle he was repairing in Kirkuk rolled back and pinned him. His wife Kimberly is still trying to adjust to the fact that he's gone. "It's harder now because I'm so used to talking to him everyday especially late at night. I'm used to hearing his voice before I go to sleep or something ," said Hobbs.
Now the Christmas tree is lit at their home. Presents are wrapped. Watching over the Christmas spirit is just a picture. "December 28th would actually be our anniversary this year. It's our first anniversary," said Hobbs. "I never, never would have thought. I was counting down the weeks."
Hobbs was supposed to be home in January in time for the birth of his first son who'll now inherit his name. "T. J. Is going to know his Dad died a hero," said Hobbs.
Ms. Searcy's 1st Grade Class at Cook Primary in Adel also knows Hobbs died a hero. With hearts and angels, their letters say so. One student wrote, "Sergeant Hobbs was a great hero. He was a great great brave man."
Another wrote, "You are a great man. That was a good job Mr. Hobbs. We love what you did for us."
"It really does mean a lot, especially now around the holidays," said Hobbs.
Not a week goes by that the Hobbs family doesn't receive something in the mail from someone. From stuffed animals to quilts, Hobbs says it all helps. "I plan on having a big memorial room," said Hobbs.
Soon those items will help a soldier's son get to know the father he never got to meet. "That's the next thing that I look forward to because then I guess I'll have a piece of him back," said Hobbs.
A still grieving wife is thankful for an outpouring of love from complete strangers. It's enough to help pick up her spirits every now and then.
Sherwood Christian Academy students also recently sent the Hobbs family some cards of encouragement. This was Theron Hobb's first deployment. His wife says he was proud to serve his country.