MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Christmas most of us try to spend time with family. That includes the men and women of our Armed Forces, who often travel a long distance to make it home.
If they’re traveling through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, there’s a good chance they’ll stop at the Armed Forces Services Center. It’s open 24 hours a day, every day.READ MORE: 'It Was Pretty Chaotic': At Least 3 Dead In Montana Amtrak Train Derailment
Volunteering at the center has become a Christmas tradition for Lorrie Shapiro and Judy Juhl. For the better part of 40 years, the Jewish mother and daughter have spent the holiday volunteering at the AFSC.
“Our Christian friends can get to spend the day with their family, since we don’t celebrate the holiday,” said Shapiro.
Lorrie’s husband fought in World War II and Judy followed in Dad’s footsteps, joining the Army Reserves.
“I have a special connection with the military and it’s my way of giving back,” said Juhl.READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: #Top10WxWeekend Continues With Summery Sunday
For service members and their families, the center offers many of the comforts of home: Food, coffee and a place to sleep.
“It makes me feel good, makes me feel good that we have a place for them to come that they don’t have to sit out in the middle of the airport,” said Juhl.
That becomes especially important when their stay at the airport is longer than expected.
“It’s incredible, it really saved me, the last time I came home on leave, I actually got stuck in the tram when it broke down and so I had to spend the night,” said Jada Lujan, an Air Force veteran and military spouse.
This Christmas, Lujan is stopping in again, getting some rest before heading home to see her spouse. For her, Lorrie and Judy’s holiday tradition means the world.MORE NEWS: MN Rep. Ilhan Omar Visits Afghan Evacuees At Fort McCoy Calling It 'Uplifting' And 'Emotional'
“They’re just godsends, everyone just appreciates them so much. I don’t know what we would do without them,” said Lujan.