Thankful in the Heartland - Home for the Holiday - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Thankful in the Heartland - Home for the Holiday

Thankful in the Heartland - Home for the Holiday
By: Holly Brantley

After more than a year in Iraq, Spc. Keith Johnson is thankful to be back in Southeast Missouri.

But even after all that time away from his family and his fiance, and a very close call, Spc. Johnson is also thankful to be a soldier. "I looked down at the right moment and it struck," said Spc. Johnson.

He describes his brush with death. While stationed in Iraq he took a bullet to the head. But, thankfully, his helmet saved his life. "It gave me a concussion and ripped a muscle in my neck," Spc. Johnson said.

His fiance, Sarah Reiminger recalls hearing the news, "I got a call that day telling me my boyfriend was shot in the head. That's not what you want to hear. It's hard, it's really hard not knowing if you're ever going to talk again. " "It was emotional," said Spc. Johnson. "Everything running through your mind of what could have happened, but thankful that it didn't."

Now, this soldier gives thanks for his life and the opportunity to spend the holidays with his sister Savannah, fiance, and his friends. A year ago, Spc. Johnson had just arrived in Iraq. "Thanksgiving was a little different," Spc. Johnson said. "But the food was good."

"Last Thanksgiving and Christmas we had to pack stuff and ship it to him, not even knowing if he was going to get it by Christmas," said Sarah.

Now the couple is excited to spend Christmas together. "I just got this house," said Spc. Johnson. "I'm kind of looking forward to dressing it up for the holidays.'

Even with the head wound suffered in Iraq, he's still proud to be a soldier. "I don't regret it at all. We knew what we were signing up for," he said.

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