Six longtime friends from Genoa, DeKalb and Sycamore were able to meet up over the holiday season.
The friends, all enlisted military, have been friends for between four and 13 years. They have known each other from grade school, high school and through athletic programs.
The group included Pfc. Kyle Boyes from DeKalb, Psc. David Gilpin from DeKalb, Pvt. Sabrine Groce from Genoa, Pfc. Caitlin Ross from DeKalb, Spc. Madison Ross from DeKalb and Psc. Cameron Wolf from Sycamore. Boyes serves in the National Guard, Madison Ross is with the U.S. Army Reserves and Groce, Gilpin, Caitlin Ross and Wolf are active duty with the U.S. Army.
“We’re all friends from school, and we wanted to get together and take a photo,” PVT Sabrina Groce from Genoa said. “It means a lot for us all to be in the military and to be friends. We meet up whenever we’re in town and have been keeping in touch. We’ve been writing each other letters and calling each other, too.”
Groce said her friendship with the group has strengthened over time, especially being apart for months due to basic training and their military roles.
“It’s comforting to have them because if something is wrong or there are sudden changes, I can talk to them about it,” she said. “They’ve been through it, too, and they understand. Serving together, we know that we’re not alone.”
Groce said that meeting together in person this holiday season was a special occasion, because many enlisted military members cannot return home, especially those serving overseas or due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It means a lot for us all to be home at the same time,” she said. “For some of us, it’s the first time home since joining the military. Some of us surprised our families and some of us surprised each other. … Serving in the military is not an easy task. We’re gone from home for a long time during the year and we’re unable to see our family and be with our community. That’s why this Christmas and being able to see each other was really special and meaningful.”