Norfolk, Va. (WTKR) - Homecomings and reunions are a big part of the fabric of life in a military community like Hampton Roads, but the ones Wednesday morning at Norfolk International Airport were a bit out of the ordinary.
That's because instead of anxious families waiting for their Sailors to return, it was the Sailors waiting for their families to arrive.
It's part of the first "Happy ThanksGathering" put on by the U.S. Navy Mid-Atlantic Region Morale, Welfare and Recreation in partnership with SC Johnson.
72 single service members who live on ships or in the barracks and were unable to travel home for Thanksgiving were selected to participated by their commands.
Their families were flown in from all over the country, some coming from as far away as Hawaii.
Wednesday morning LS3 Gabriel Saba waited with NewsChannel 3 to greet his family coming in from Ohio.
Saba hadn't seen his mother in more than a year and wasn't expecting to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with family this year until he was selected for the program.
"I didn't expect it at all. I thought I would spend it with a few friends, but it's good to have them here," Saba told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo Wednesday.
The Sailors and their families will be treated to a concert by the band Train at Naval Station Norfolk Wednesday evening before sitting down for a traditional Thanksgiving meal Thursday afternoon.