U.S. Marine Overcomes Obstacles

By Michael Stafford
Newswest 9

It's a Thanksgiving to remember for one West Texas family now that their loved one has returned from Iraq.  And this is no ordinary Marine.

Sgt. Joel Housman has overcome many obstacles to get where he is today.

It's hard enough serving overseas in Iraq, but having to fight off cancer at the same time requires a lot of courage.

Sgt. Housman, a third batallion U.S. marine arrived at Midland International Airport late Wednesday night to a hero's welcome. The hugs and kisses, not to mention the patriotic flag salute, and show of support are well deserved.

"It was great.  I'm glad to have all that support.  Some soldiers never have family waiting on them when they arrive home, and to see all those flags," says Housman.

Joel is in much better shape now, but several years ago just before his first deployment to Iraq, he was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer and underwent radiation therapy.

He could've stepped down from duty, but instead he wanted to serve side by side with his fellow Marines.

"It was real hard to get back into shape.  I had to take Radiation therapy, and get a synthetic steroid, because my body won't produce a certain hormone anymore.  And they're not just your friends, they're your brothers.  It would be like letting my brother go off to war without me,"  says Housman.  

His family welcomed him home with a special Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, and it gave them a chance to catch up on old stories.

His mother and father Billy and Joanie Eaton couldn't be prouder, and their prayers they say, have truly been answered.
"I thank God he came home.  He has all his fingers and toes.  He looks good," says Joel's mother.    "You see the news everyday, and see so many soldiers were killed.  Your heart kind of sinks, but then you pray it's not your, but you also feel selfish, because it could be someone else's," adds his father Billy.

Joe's contract with the Marines ends December 13th, and he plans to get a college degree in Criminal Justice.