By Mary Simms
MILILANI (KHNL) -- For military spouses, making it through long deployments is never easy. But, its even more difficult for families with special needs children.
The Lodge family is smiling today, because dad is finally back from Iraq. Chief Warrant Officer Steven Lodge, is a local soldier, born and raised in Hilo. This week, he reunited with his family after 14 months in Iraq.
For the past three years, this solider, husband, and father, has spent more time in the middle east, than at home. After a year in Afghanistan, lodge was only home 14 months before heading back out. this time -- to Iraq.
"Like I hadn't recovered from the last deployment, then he was gone again,"
For Myra Lodge, juggling work, life, and 3 boys was hard. One of her sons is severely autistic.
"I think the hardest was just not having a male around for the boys. And it was hard. They needed direction that I couldn't give them," said Myra through tears.
She says her faith helped her through the toughest times.
"I have God in my life, so that's what helps me."
About 7,000 Soldiers deployed with Hawaii's 25th Infantry Division. 36 will never come home.
"It's sad for the families that have lost have lost loved ones here in the island. My best friend's husband was one of them, and he was going to retire in 9 months."
The Lodge family knows how lucky they are have Steve back.
"I'm so happy, I'm so grateful that he's home, and that he's alive."