Only on 12: Soldier/dad home in time for Christmas

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News 12 at 11, December 13, 2007

RIDGE SPRING, S.C.-- A Saluda County family is celebrating after their soldier/ father returns from Afghanistan and he got here just in time to surprise his kids at a basketball game.

Sgt. Oscar Phillips and his wife Thomasina couldn't even make it in the door of the gymnasium of Ridge Spring Middle School before the hugs and tears came from his two daughters.

The rest of his family in shock; and 4-year-old Octavious couldn't wait any longer, running and jumping into his father's arms.

"I'm just hysterical. I'm just happy to be home for one. I've been away for a long time." says Sgt. Phillips. Eight long months to be exact.

Having dad home was all Octavious wanted for Christmas.

Gardner to Octavious, "Are you excited?"

Octavious, "Yes!!"

Gardner, "Did you miss him?"

Octavious, "Yeah! I missed him!!!!"

And so did 9-year-old Shaquile who was right by his dad's side to give him a hug.

"He was delayed but he was not denied to be here with us." says Thomasina.

An overwhelming experience of joy, just in time for the holidays

"I love him very much." says 18 year old Cierra Atkins as she covers her eyes with tears.

"I love him." adds her sister Brianna Phillips of their dad's homecoming.

A proud father home for Christmas with plenty of love to go around.

"I love you daddy!" screams Octavious.

And for Mom and Dad, the family all together again. Its quite a gift.

"I can't complain at all. If i don't get nothing else I'm happy. If i don't get nothing else, I'm here with my wife and I'm happy." says Sgt. Phillips.

"This is my Christmas gift. I don't want anything else than my husband home with us and i thank god and i thank Santa clause for answering our prayers." adds Thomasina.

Since Sgt. Phillips flights were delayed, he had a few days added on his trip. He will stay home with his family until December 29th.

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