HOLLAND (CBS) -- The smiles were never-ending after Marine Lt. Josh Peloquin arrived home early Saturday morning.
"I almost toppled him over and I started bawling my eyes out," said Josh's mother, Tonya Olsen. "I just didn't want to let go."
His coming home was more important than ever this year, because Olsen is very sick.
"This year has been such a hard year," she said. "We lost my father, his grandmother, and we found out I have pulmonary fibrosis."
Josh is stationed off the coast of Africa. Two weeks ago, he was told he was going back to the US for Christmas.
But he couldn't afford the trip home to Holland, Massachusetts.
"My mom is really sick, and I had to make the tough decision to save my money," he said.
A Gold Star family from the Cape who had lost their son in combat heard about Josh's family and plight--and they paid for his plane ticket home.
"Thank you just isn't enough," Josh said.
"Today is a good day," said his mother. "Josh is home."
He's the eldest of four, and already back in his role as the glue of the family.
"It just wouldn't have been Christmas," his mother said.
For this Christmas, the family is whole again--thanks to their Marine family.
"The tradition of being with family and opening presents, it's really important to me," Josh said. "Just to be here, I am very thankful."
Josh is home for just four days before he has to go back on duty.
for more features.