After a long Thanksgiving weekend thousands of people are flying back home but for one local soldier, home will now be the mountains of Afghanistan. For her mom, home will feel very empty without her daughter.
11 News Reporter Jessica Zartler was there for the tearful goodbye at the Grand Junction Regional Airport on Sunday.
On any given day there are hundreds of goodbyes at the Grand Junction Regional Airport, parents sending sons and daughters back to college or on a trip.
But where Cathy Patch is sending her daughter there aren't parties and exams, there are terrorists with guns and explosives in hiding.
"I vacillate between being terrified and really, really proud of her," she told 11 News on Sunday.
Her daughter, Caree, joined the Army seven months ago and her first deployment will be in Afghanistan as a combat medic.
"I just like helping people. If I can be a blessing to people and reach out in someone's life," said Caree Patch.
A combat medic is the closest to the front lines a woman can get but Caree says its her faith that calms any fear.
"When it comes to the end of the day and I think about it I get kind of worried but I know god's gonna protect me."
Her mom says she does enough worrying for the both of them.
"I've had a lot of trouble not worrying," said Cathy Patch.
The two spent Thanksgiving together and mom doesn't want the weekend to end.
"I told her she just had to come sit on my lap and not leave but she's gonna do her duty and that's a good thing," Cathy said as she tried to fight back tears.
The Montrose mom says there may be men and women overseas who need her daughter more than she does right now.
"Caree is really making a difference. She's got a beautiful heart and she'll touch the people she's with."
And although she'll miss her mom, Caree knows there are big things ahead.
"Here goes another chapter in my life. Afghanistan here i come!"
And while Caree is gone, Cathy says she will pray everyday.
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