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Beech Grove grandmother opens home to soldiers for Christmas

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BEECH GROVE, Ind. - Two young soldiers from Hawaii here on the mainland for Christmas are spending their holiday with a Beech Grove grandmother. She welcomed her grandson’s friends into her home, no questions asked.

She didn’t want them spending Christmas in the barracks alone.

“I opened up my home to them, so they could have a good Christmas, I hope,” said Sharon Livingston.

Inside Livingston’s apartment sit three pairs of boots and three young men, about to graduate from basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

“I had some battle buddies home with me for Christmas,” said Robert Pope, Sharon’s grandson.

Pope found out his friends and comrades Joshua Domingo and Terry Berry were not going home to Hawaii for the holiday. The reasons were understandable - too far and too expensive. Domingo said he wanted to stay on the mainland for a different experience.

“I’ve never seen snow in my life before,” said Domingo.

For both it’d be their first Christmas that far away.

“This is my first time to spend Christmas with people from a different place,” said Berry.

Pope told his grandmother he would be bringing his friends home. He said he didn’t think she would mind.

“I knew she wouldn’t care,” he said, “She’s open arms all the time.”

The tried and true grandmother didn’t mind adding a few to the fold.

“I have 17 grandkids and 15 great-grandkids,” Livingston said, “I hope they take it in heart that if someone needs help to help them. I really do.”

Christmas for this family this year isn’t about the gifts but instead a life lesson in kindness, from someone older and wiser, who just might’ve saved Christmas for a couple soldiers.

“She’s really kind. The past two days I’ve been here, she’s really shown kindness to us,” Domingo said.

“For what they did, it’s a good lesson for me to do to others,” said Berry.

All three of the young men will officially graduate from basic training in January. All three are in the National Guard with plans to attend college after graduation.

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