(NewsNation) — Across the country, military men and women are headed home for the holidays, and one airport lounge is giving them a hub to relax for the journey home.
In Miami at one of the nation’s busiest airports, Tashara Smith, a member of the Army reserves, was headed to see her family in St. Louis, Missouri, for the first time in about a year.
“I mean you miss your family, important holidays … so it can be hard, but with my battle buddies, we make it a family,” Smith said.
Smith was utilizing Miami International Airport’s military hospitality lounge, a space away from the crowds run by Vietnam veteran Angel Rodriguez.
“Our military men and women paid a huge sacrifice for this nation, and the least we can do for them is to provide a comfortable environment,” Rodriquez said of the lounge.
It’s a comfortable, quiet environment amid the hustle and bustle of what’s been described as a chaotic travel season.
Rodriguez said they are in desperate need of volunteers and donations, but even still he described the staff and lounge members as a family of people who understand the sacrifice, especially during the holidays.
Chanise Morgan, who was using the lounge this week, served in the Army for 17 years. She is ending her vacation and heading back to base in south Korea.
“The sacrifice is my family,” Morgan said. “I know that they miss me a lot and I miss them as well. And I only get a few moments to visit and that’s the sacrifice. Everybody’s growing up and I’m missing it.”