By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) – More than 100 members of the Colorado National Guard will not spend the holidays at home. They deserve endless praise, but most will tell you, their families have the hardest jobs.

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“We should always remember that our National Guard families make sacrifices while their loved ones serve,” said Maj. Gen. Mike Loh, Adjutant General of Colorado U.S. Air Force. “Supporting our families ensures our readiness for the warfight.”

Gov. Jared Polis, First Gentleman Marlon Reis and Maj. Gen. Mike Loh hosted military families for a Christmas-themed gathering at the Governor’s Mansion.

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“This is so they don’t feel alone. They feel that they have support. This a special event where they can know people care about them,” said Jennie Zambo, Family Assistance Specialist for the Colorado National Guard.

Zambo is dedicated to making sure military families feel a sense a community while part of their family is away. She knows firsthand how isolating it can be.

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“I’ve been through it myself and you do feel alone. There’s so many other families going through the same thing and you don’t realize it,” said Zambo.

Senior leaders visited with families while children wrote letters to Santa and made ornaments. Santa later surprised the children, pulling up to the Governor’s Mansion in a military vehicle.

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Santa’s hugs can never replace the absence of a deployed family member, but he can still make you smile when you’re missing them the most.

“There’s so much support I feel like I can depend on now,” said Raylene Reynolds, a military wife. “I take it day by day. It’s a lot. It’s a lot of stress getting everything ready to go, and then doing the holidays at the same time. He won’t be home until the holidays next year.”

Tori Mason


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