YUMA, AZ - Marines are a rare breed. They're trained to be prepared for anything. Today, one marine was caught off guard by a loving congregation.
"It was a surprise. I was not expecting all of this. The pastor told me to wear my uniform. I thought he just wanted some other people to see me," said Chief Warrant Officer Heriberto Sanchez. He was honored by the Foothills Assembly of God.
Sanchez just returned from his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. His congregation surprised him with an award, presented by the Honorable Federal Magistrate Judge James Metcalf.
The award recognizes his dedicated service to God and country.
Chief Warrant Officer Sanchez is also a family man. He has a wife of 17 years, a 16 year old son, a 12 year old daughter and a 4 year old daughter.
The church treated the Sanchez family to a sit-down afternoon dinner after the service.
When asked what he looked forward to most while he was home, Sanchez didn't hesitate.
"Being with the family, definitely. After 7 months of not being able to hold them, smell them, being with them, talking with them face to face," said Sanchez.
Sanchez is an air traffic control maintenance officer, responsible for the safety of military aircraft. The 14 year career marine humbly credits his successes in life to his faith in a higher power.
"There's no way I could do what I do without the Lord. I put everything in the Lord's hands. He's gotten me promoted, he's gotten me where I've gone. He's keeping me safe, and my faith is one of the priorities in my life … and I know I'm where I'm at right now is because the Lord has allowed it to happen," explains Sanchez.
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