Honoring a Family of Heroes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Honoring a Family of Heroes

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -- On Veterans Day, many people took the time to honor and thank the more than two million service members who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently among them, 2,800 members of the Iowa Army National Guard.

KWWL met one family of soldiers in August as they left for Afghanistan. Five men and women in the Perdue Family deployed at once, four of whom are siblings. We caught back up with them on November 11th.

"Veterans day was busy!" said the matriarch of the family, Major Linda Perdue.

You won't meet a more patriotic family than the Perdue's. But in their world, every day is kind of like Veterans Day. Even this year, they're more concerned about a different holiday.

"Pretty much spent the day focused on, what can we get for the kids? Because we have less than a week to get stuff set up and ready to go for Christmas for them," said Platt Perdue.

Their home, which is usually Christmas Central, will be pretty quiet this year. The youngest girl, Scarlett, is in basic training. Three months ago, four of the kids, Nickoles, Janna, Anthony, and Christopher, deployed to Afghanistan. And the last one at home, Shannon, recently learned she'll join them soon.

"I get a little nervous. I'm not saying I'm stressed about it, but I'm concerned as any parent would be. But it's about the kids. Focus on the kids. You think you're nervous, you 'otta be in their shoes," explained Platt.

Which is why all the kids are getting a fun gift for Christmas. Remote-control helicopters -- to help take their minds off the battle around them.

"Forget about everything that's going on around you for a bit, keep your head clear," said Platt.

Major Perdue, or the "Don" as her family calls her, is honored for all the thanks and prayers she received Thursday, and lately, everyday, as a veteran.

"If I"'m walking in a store with my uniform on, I'm just picking up a grocery or two before I get home, and somebody says thank you. 20 years ago, I would have never been thanked," she said.

But, if she had it her way, she'd send every "thanks" to Afghanistan, along with the stockings.

"If I get a thank you, it really needs to go to them. Not me," she said.

This story might remind you of the Five Sullivan Brothers from Waterloo. The brothers served together on the same ship in World War II -- all five were killed when the ship sunk. This lead the U.S. War Department to adopt the "Sole Survivor Policy" to prevent a similar tragedy from happening in the future.

The Perdue's said they've heard the reference once or twice, but said their family is a little different. Most of their kids are on separate assignments in Afghanistan. However, two of the brothers are actually bunkmates, and will work side-by-side almost every day.

The Perdue siblings also have a wife, cousins, and best friends deploying with them. All of their boyfriends or girlfriends are also servicemembers.

Major Perdue said, if you're sending a gift to a soldier you love, don't think about what they need. Think about what they would want. Some of the best gifts for soldiers in the desert are simply a coloring book and crayons.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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