By: Leland Kim
KANEOHE (KHNL) - With Christmas less than a week away, families throughout Hawaii count their blessings. One local marine feels lucky to spend Christmas at home, even as he gets ready to go to Iraq.
"Do you want to put that in your basket?" Major Jeffrey Holt asks his 22-month-old son Jacob, as they play in the backyard.
Father and son enjoy a moment together, as the family gears up for Christmas. Holt is a U.S. Marine. He is here for the holidays, but early next year, he leaves for Iraq.
"Over Christmas, I am fortunate to spend it with them because I will deploy soon," he said. "So, I just remember how blessed we are at times like this, but not forget those who are overseas."
Jeff's wife Staci is supportive.
"I don't think there's any other job that Jeff can do that he would do better than being a Marine," she said.
Naturally, Jeff will miss his family. Staci is the love of his life, and his feelings for her haven't changed from the day he proposed to her, back in May of '97.
"From the moment I first met you, I always knew that I wanted to marry you," he recalled saying to her. "And I think we'd make a great team as a husband and wife."
They married a year later.
"Jeff was by far the nicest man I ever dated, and that's exactly why I married him," said Staci Holt. "I had never met anyone that was more genuine with other people."
After seven years of marriage, Baby Jacob entered the world in 2005. Holt said it will be more difficult to leave this time around.
"Every day I'll miss," he said. "Specifically bed time with my son, having him get up in the morning and see me and get excited. You can't put a price on that."
"As far as my wife, I think I'll just miss my best friend, somebody I can share with whatever's on my mind," he added.
Still, Holt looks forward to joining his fellow Marines in Iraq.
"And this is a great opportunity for our Battalion, 1/3, to serve this country and do well and I believe we will," he said.
A Marine, a husband, a father.