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IAVA | January 14, 2017

Read: Southwest Airlines & IAVA Brings Veterans Home for the Holidays!

Just before the holidays, IAVA and Southwest Airlines helped make some special wishes come true, offering members across the country the opportunity to go home to their families to celebrate the festive season. Altogether, over 20 veterans traveled the country to be with their loved ones over the holidays.

“THANK YOU! We totally surprised my mom at her front door,” says Justin Covert, a Navy veteran who served in Iraq. Together with his girlfriend, Justin traveled from Virginia to surprise his mom in Missouri. “We had her in instant tears of joy.”

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Tara Groth, a Marine veteran who served in Iraq, was effusive with gratitude from the moment she heard she won. Tara, with her kids in tow, made the cross-country trip from California to her family in New York. “The best four days I’ve had in a long time,” she said. “I’m thankful for the experience and the memories we will FOREVER cherish! Thank you IAVA and Southwest Airlines from the bottom of my heart. This meant the world to me and my family and friends!”

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New England is always a magical place to spend the wintry holidays. So of course Christopher Lloyd, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, jumped at the opportunity and traded in Texas for Vermont to visit his parents. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart again, THANK YOU! I got the tickets at the last moment and my parents who live in Vermont didn’t know I was coming. I had to make a plan with my sister to pick me up in Albany and we kept it a secret. You should have seen their expressions.” And it sounds like it was a success! If you want to keep some holiday spirit alive, check out this adorable, real-time video of Christopher and his parents!

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