As if having her son home for Christmas wasn't sweet enough, a welcome home surprise for Army Specialist Ian Lynch just before the New Year, was the cherry on top.
"It's complete, our Christmas is complete having him home, and all the kids home are wonderful huge families," said Lynch's mother, Sandy Sesterhenn.
The pomp and circumstance is always a welcomed sight for all, especially for the family who couldn't be happier to have their loved ones home. Lynch's stepfather Mike Sesterhenn helped set-up this surprise.
"He deserves it," he said. "He's done a lot of hard work for the Army, he's got a couple more years yet, but he's got two deployments so far and I wanted to do something special for him to tell him, 'you mean a lot to everybody in the family.'"
Lynch returned home to Palatine from his second tour in Afghanistan just days before Christmas. His task was different each time and this time brought him up close to hidden danger.
"I was a TEDD handler, a tactical explosive detection dog handler, pretty much went outside and looked for IED'S," Lynch said.
Lynch was selected to be one of the dog handlers, a task he enjoyed, one that brought him very close to his coworker, 4-year-old explosive detection dog Pista.
"The dog, that was definitely my best friend over there, it was really hard to let him go," said Lynch.
Lynch and Pista, who is now in a kennel in Indiana, patrolled together in search for bombs, daunting for some to imagine, but a challenge he says he would gladly accept again. But for now, he'll rest, relax, and enjoy a Bears' win with his family.
Specialist Lynch says there may be a possibility that he will have to go overseas for yet a third deployment.