Military Families Given Trip Home for Holidays

Local non-profit gives military families in need the chance to see their families

By Kelly McPherson
|  Wednesday, Dec 21, 2011  |  Updated 9:10 PM PDT
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One marine and his family of five applied for a trip they couldn't afford without the help of a local non-profit. Kelly Mcpherson explains

One marine and his family of five applied for a trip they couldn't afford without the help of a local non-profit. Kelly Mcpherson explains

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It's been a busy day in San Diego's airport, as the next few days are among the busiest days of travel in the country.

The number of people traveling this holiday season is expected increase compared to last year, according to AAA.

But for some, traveling isn’t an option. One marine and his family of five applied for a trip they couldn’t afford without the help of a local non-profit.

Patrick Herman said he hasn’t been home to visit his family in Allentown, Pennsylvania in five years. His wife Kimberly said her family also lives near the area. Now is a time when the two are especially in need of family, too.

Their son Derek was diagnosed with epilepsy and autism this year.

“Even with all of the insurance coverage that we have his therapies and diet and all of the tools he needs,” Kimberly said.

The Hermans were selected from among nearly 100 military families who applied for a free trip from San Diego-based non-profit, "Home for the Holidays." The charity has paid for more than 60 people to go home this holiday season.

“It's huge for us. “The kids actually get to go home and see their family and everything for Christmas,” Patrick said.

Last year was the first year “Home for the Holidays” began paying for trips home. Since then, their work has been a huge success, said Jean Ries, executive director of Home for the Holidays.

“We have tripled the number of families we've been able to service since last year, so we're really excited about that,” Ries said.

She hopes next year, they will be able to send even more families home.

“Our greatest need going into next year is that we want to be able to send more families home,” Ries said. “Right now we had to close the application process pretty early on.”

That could make an immeasurable difference in the lives of military families like the Hermans.

“It’s probably the best gift we could possibly get,” Kimberly said.

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