There are some things that civilians just don't know about military life.
And one of the biggest things they don't realize is how much all of the civilian support means to the people in uniform, Army Sgt. Daniel Lewis said.
Lewis, whose family lives in Painesville, received several gifts from the Heroes at Home program Monday at the Sears store in Great Lakes Mall.
Sears gave them several kitchen tools, including a mixer, coffee maker, bakery ware and toaster oven, as well as a $500 gift card to the store.
"The people back home will never understand how much it means to us to have this support," Lewis said.
Lewis has served six deployments. He joined the Marines in 1997 and served in the Army afterward.
He also has a wife Michelle, six daughters -- Giselle, Thalia, Elyssa, Faith, Emily and Abigail, ages two to 12 -- and a son on the way. He spent the first year of his youngest daughter Abigail's life in Iraq before returning state side in December.
Since then, he has struggled to find a job and even spent some time homeless, he said.
Right now, he lives in Baltimore, MD, and looks for work while his family lives in Painesville.
However, Lewis did not want to focus on the struggles he has faced as much as his gratitude to Sears and others who show their support to those serving in the military.
Lewis said his father, Stephen Lewis, served in Vietnam and faced a very different public sentiment.
"My dad came home from Vietnam and people were throwing food at him when he was coming off the airplane," Lewis said. "We get off the airplane now and everybody shakes our hand and says 'thank you.'"
Lewis added that he didn't feel as he deserved the gifts given to him.
"I don't feel like I deserve this. I think my family deserves it," he added.
"I'm just doing my job. I know how cliche that sounds but it's what I signed up for. I don't feel like I deserve anything."
During the past five years, the Heroes at Home Wish Registry has raised $17 million through customer donations and has helped more than 83,000 military families during the holidays.
All the funds donated by Sears customers will be equally distributed to registered military families in the form of Sears e-gift cards.