Everyday Ellen Rice looks at her sons' picture and everyday she hopes he'll soon walk through the door.
"The faith and believing that he'll be looked out for in one way or another helps. You still have some hard days where you want to curl up in a ball and cry, but pretty much, overall, I'm just really proud," says Ellen Rice.
Brian Rice enlisted in the army a year ago and in August, he left for Iraq. On September 1, Rice and his troop encountered a gunfight between insurgents and the Iraqi Army. The insurgents were chased into a home, where they continued to fire rifles and grenades. Rice's troop stepped in rolling a Humvee right in front of the home and for 40 minutes, Rice fired rounds from his 50 caliber weapon but then his gun jammed.
"He ducked back into the Humvee and pulled out his rifle and just kept firing in the midst," says Rice.
When the battle ended, 5 insurgents were dead. On November 10, Rice received the Army Commendation Medal with Valor and a Combat Infantry Badge.
"Of course, it's awesome that he got them, but that's not what he's there for. It's just one of those things that's nice to be recognized for the work you do..how well you do it," says Rice.
"He's like a brother to me. I wish I could have been over there with him. Unfortunately, I got injured and taken out before I was able to go out there. But, I'm really proud of my friend for getting out there and doing what he had to do," says Brian's childhood friend, Tim Lynch.
Ellen says her son may be home for Christmas, a Christmas that will be filled with blessings, cheer and celebration of Brian's valiant efforts.