Two area households with family members serving in the military in Iraq were thrilled at the news Sunday morning that Saddam Hussein, former leader of the nation, had been captured.
Denise Reese of Mahomet, whose son, Brian, is a member of the Second Armored Cavalry Regiment in Baghdad, said a friend called her early Sunday and asked if she was watching television.
"It was great news, very welcome," Reese said. "I cried, wept for joy. I'm very hopeful that it will make life easier for our soldiers."
Reese said her family has not heard from Brian for three months.
He has been there since May, but has never said anything about the hunt by U.S. forces for Saddam or Osama bin Laden. Brian is a 2000 graduate of Mahomet-Seymour High School.
Brent and Denise Reese have three other children – an older daughter, Becky, at the University of Illinois; a younger son, Todd, who is a sophomore at Mahomet-Seymour High School; and a younger daughter, Morgan, who is in sixth grade.
"When my 11-year-old saw the news, she was really hoping the soldiers could come home now," Denise Reese said. "We told her we didn't think so, that there's still a lot of work to do over there. But it's been a great day."
Debby Heater, whose daughter, Kimberly, served eight months in the Persian Gulf on the USS Nimitz, and whose nephew, Jeffrey Mathis of Ogden, is still stationed in Baghdad, at first thought her husband, Steve, was joking when he told her about Saddam's capture.
"When I heard it was real, I just thanked God," Debby Heater said. "We couldn't have a better Christmas present."
Her daughter, a 2000 graduate of Urbana High School, returned with her ship to its home port in San Diego in November, she said.
Debby Heater's nephew, the son of Carol and Tom Mathis, is still stationed in Iraq.
"To have my daughter home and to hear the news that (Saddam) was captured is just great," Debby Heater said. "I have a feeling we will have a really tremendous Fourth of July this year," she said.
You can reach Steve Bauer at (217) 351-5318 or via e-mail at email@example.com.