Reasons abound to be thankful this holiday season and one Fayette County family in particular is overjoyed to welcome one of their own back home for Thanksgiving.
Sam Janasov, a 26-year-old Fayette County native, graduated from Washington High School in 2007 and immediately enlisted into the United States Air Force. He began his duty at an Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. After graduating from there he traveled to a Navy flight school in Florida and finished by receiving his wings in Oklahoma. It was then he was stationed at a base near Sacramento, Calif.
“I was deployed twice to different parts of Afghanistan, once from January to September of 2014 and again from March to October this year,” Janasov said during a phone interview Tuesday. “I missed a few things, like my sister Alex’s 21st birthday. It is nice to be back, even though I might have been in the states at times, coming back to where you grew up is wonderful. It is a lot more mellow.”
Janasov said he is glad take a short break from duty and come home. He said he has missed his family and that coming back, “Just feels natural. To be back and to hang out with my family. I am just thankful for my family especially. They are the reason why I tried to come back for an extended time.”
Janasov said being away has been difficult. At times, even if there was money available to come back, it just wasn’t possible. He said that when “down range feeling sick,” those are the times he wanted his mom and family. He also said that as cliche as it sounds, he misses the freedom. For him, attaching a gun on his hip and dressing himself in his proper attire would be a common occurrence just to go get some food, even at times donning body armor on certain days of the year just to go get breakfast. Now home, he said he can come and go more freely.
“If I am hungry here I can just jump in the car and go grab a meal,” Janasov said. “On base after not sleeping a lot for that long, it can really add up. Now that I am home it feels like I can let my guard down. It is also more quiet…on base you hear helicopters or Vipers taking off every 90 seconds. Here, just being able to hear the wind and trees is a real treat. Just being able to have some of that peace time and the opportunity to see my family is wonderful.
Recently, Janasov was honored for his military service at a Columbus Crew soccer game. It is a common occurrence for the Crew to honor an active duty or veteran military personnel, and after hearing he was coming home, Janasov’s sister, Amanda Torgerson, submitted his name to the Crew. He was selected, and during the game on Nov. 22, the entire audience clapped and chanted “U.S.A.” for him.
“The support from Americans and especially my family is great,” Janasov said. “I don’t want to be the kind of guy who ‘milks’ being in the military. The kind of guys who really are memorable are the ones who don’t ask for it, but when they get that kind of support they really appreciate it. We are in a good spot. When I came home, I just really wanted to be able to sit down, enjoy a beer and relax, but to be honored in that way is over the top awesome and I really appreciate it.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy