PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — As the choir sang and hundreds of others gathered for the annual Thanksgiving Eve parade in Papillion , one military family was surprised with an early Christmas gift.
Air Force Pilot Matthew LeCraw shocked his wife and two daughters with an early return from overseas.
"It is amazing. This is what it's all about," LeCraw said. "It is about serving the country, but ultimately I'm here for them. I'm here to take care of them and take care of those that I love."
LeCraw has been in Qatar for the last two months working as a pilot with a crew of roughly 30 others.
He was originally supposed to be back in early December, but his boss let him out early.
"It's a real big blessing," LeCraw said.
To say his family was excited is an understatement.
One of his daughters was still in shock and almost forgetting her dad was right in front of her.
"I miss like playing with him... wrestling," LeCrew's daughter said. "We use to love doing that."
"We still do love doing that," LeCraw said.
Although the time apart from his family is tough, he says he's lucky to have so many options of communication.
"My dad served in the 80s and 90s back when the iPhone didn't exist, so for him a 15 minute phone call once a week was lucky," LeCraw said. "It's a lot different for us. We have the benefit of face-time, Google chat, text messaging... there's internet out there so we communicated pretty much everyday."
Along with improved technology, the LeCraw family says they have a lot to be thankful for this thanksgiving.
"We get a lot of help from a lot of great friends around here," LeCraw's wife said. "We are thankful for all those people that surround us with support."