Tyler Crooks of Johnstown is 5 weeks into U.S. Coast Guard boot camp. He was the first in his immediate family to join the military.
He says, "I really wanted to make a difference, preserve America for future generations to come, and lend my hand where i could lend it."
And since he's away from home for Thanksgiving, a family in Cape May, New Jersey offered to take him in for the day, to enjoy the holiday. The program, specific for Coast Guard recruits, is called Operation Fireside. The Coast Guard and the American Red Cross placed 190 recruits with more than 45 local host families
Crooks says it was a welcome relief from boot camp, which has been a tough but rewarding challenge. He's surprised how much he's missed home. This is the 32nd year for Operation Fireside