Families reunite at Sky Harbor after years apart ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

All throughout the airport, it’s hugs, indicators, and surprises as households reunite for the vacations. Some, reuniting after years spent apart.

PHOENIX — The days earlier than Thanksgiving are among the many busiest journey days of the year, with tens of millions hitting the highway and taking to the skies to spend the holiday with household and associates.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s terminals have gotten the place the place households are reuniting, some after years apart.

A small group of individuals holding a bouquet of sunflowers waits by the place the worldwide flights set free.

“It’s a long process,” mentioned Veronica Velasco, as she stands subsequent to her two sisters, Connie Gilliland and Erica Coronel.

The three sisters and the remaining of their household are ready for his or her mother. She’s flying in from Guadalajara.

The sisters have been working for 4 to 5 years, they are saying, to get their mother to the U.S.

“It’s been tough,” Velasco mentioned.

“And COVID didn’t help things out, that really slowed down the process quite a bit,” Gilliland mentioned.

But not even two weeks in the past, Velasco mentioned she received phrase their mother would get to return in for Thanksgiving.

“I called Connie and I told her, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s happening, it’s happening,’” Velasco mentioned.

It’s been seven years since Velasco and Coronel have seen their mother, for Gilliland it’s been even longer.

“It’s been about 12 years since I’ve seen her,” Gilliland mentioned. “It’s really just been orchestrated by God, in our belief, we have been trying for so long, and then I got a cancer diagnosis in May.”

That analysis, Gilliland mentioned, helped pace up the visa course of — permitting them to be reunited Wednesday for the primary time in years.

“I got so excited I couldn’t even walk, I was like I’m gonna get to see them,” mentioned Linda Huerta, the ladies’s mother.

“Thanksgiving is a time for family and we’re really grateful that we get that family time,” Gilliland mentioned.

Across Terminal 4, flying in from Boise, a big group of household awaited the arrival of Cooper Cummard.

“I was kind of in shock, I didn’t know it was gonna be right there and they were all surprised because I was earlier than I was supposed to be, which is a blessing,” Cummard mentioned.

In a video shared by household, Cummard’s mother is seen leaping and excited when she spots her son.

Cummard has been away as a missionary for 2 years.

“I was serving the Lord out there,” Cummard mentioned.

Now, able to have fun the Thanksgiving holiday together with his complete household, who’re collectively for the primary time in 4 years.

“It kind of feels surreal, but it was perfect timing,” Cummard mentioned.

Early was additionally the story outdoors of the ‘B’ Gates at Terminal 4, the place Shelly and Craig Yakubow waited for his or her niece, Sarah, who was flying in from Canada.

“Any minute, she’s going to be walking down the corridor,” Shelly mentioned.

The journey was deliberate a couple of months again when Craig was visiting Canada.

“I’m like, ‘You haven’t come to visit in a while, you should come visit’, she’s like ‘yeah,’, and I’m like ‘yeah’, so I bought her a ticket for Thanksgiving. She didn’t really have much choice,” Craig mentioned.

But the moments they’re on the point of have fun are additional particular, which incorporates celebrating Sarah’s birthday Wednesday.

“This will be her very first American Thanksgiving,” Shelly mentioned.

The household has plans to have a conventional dinner with meals, household, and soccer.

“It just means everything to me,” Sarah Popowich mentioned. “I love it, I love seeing family, and I miss these guys.”

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