Some soldiers stationed at Fort Huachuca aren’t able to go home for Thanksgiving. More than 100 soldiers will spend Thanksgiving with families across Cochise County.

Stephani Bright and her daughter Ashley Harper have hosted soldiers since 2016 to help fill seats at their dinner table. Bright and Harper said they started this new tradition after Bright’s son passed away.

His last words were ‘Ill be home for Thanksgiving,’ Bright said.

Bright’s son was in the Navy and Harper said hosting soldiers shows they aren’t alone or forgotten.

These soldiers sacrifice so much for us, they give so much for us and its nice to just give back to them for a day, Harper said.

Bright and her family make the day as relaxing as possible with games, food and experiences for the guests. Bright said she wants them to feel comfortable in her home.

We encourage them to speak with their family while theyre there,” she said. “Usually well talk to their parents and theyre so appreciative of us opening our house for their kids, so its kind of neat.

More than 50 families signed up to host the soldiers. Some people who signed up weren’t assigned a soldier because there weren’t enough soldiers signed up.

One soldier, Specialist Wilhem Ficquet, heard about the program and thought “it’d be a great opportunity to meet people in the community,” he said. “And to just spend this special holiday with them. And to have this great moment to celebrate Thanksgiving.

He said meeting his host family makes this holiday more enjoyable and less lonely.

It feels a little bit like if I was going home in a way,” Ficquet said. “(It) cheers me up, to know theres someone that cares about us soldiers and want us to be happy, and have a special moment all together.

The families will pick up their soldiers on Thursday so they can spend the day together before they have to be back later that night.