Lance Corporal Jonathan Cortes served in Afghanistan for just about a year and with the help from about six hundred Southern Hills Elementary students his holidays are a whole lot brighter.
The shouts from hundreds of students from Southern Hills Elementary School welcomed Lance Corporal Jonathan Cortes back home.
"It's definitely an honor to come back and be welcomed like that, that doesn't happen every day," he said.
They waved flags and made signs, all to honor a hero who spent the past year serving in Afghanistan.
It's something many of these children have never witnessed, like a picture coming to life.
"For them to see and listen to the experiences of what they have gone through and make it real it was just a really real experience for them," said Mattie Mahan, the Mother of Cortes.
An experience which allowed these students to learn by asking questions and listening to Cortes tell his story.
"One day they are going to understand it," he said.
"That there are people out there protecting them so they can go to school everyday and not have to worry about waking up every morning and coming to school and learning and they can focus on that and not anything else," Mahan said.
And after one final salute and a stack of cards in hand Cortes made his way home honored by all the support shown for his service.
Cortes will get to spend the holidays with his family but says he may be back in Afghanistan in the next few months.