Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard Furman woke up in the middle of the night at his Fultonville home Dec. 16 and sprinted down the narrow hallway before he realized what was happening.
It was his first night home on leave from the Navy. The 20-year-old third-class gunner's mate realized he may have been on leave, but he hadn't left his instincts behind. He had awoken after hearing his dad's fire pager go off.
"[In the Navy], we have an alarm where you have to man SCAT, which is a small-caliber action team," he said. "You run and arm up on a [gun] to defend the ship from small boat attacks. When I heard [the fire pager], I took off at a dead run, not even thinking about where I was at the time. It was just reflex."
Army Spc. Chelsea Galpin, on leave for Christmas, said she was
surprised to get time off just four months into her
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard
Furman of Fultonville holds a sign at his home
Tuesday. His family and friends made the sign for his visit home for
Furman said even though he's home on leave, he never stops thinking about his tasks with the Navy.
Furman is one of many military service members home on leave from the military this week for the holidays. He has to head back the day after Christmas.
He said he's happy to see his friends and family, whom he hasn't been able to see regularly since he enlisted in February 2011.
Another local service member on leave for the holidays is Army Spc. Chelsea Galpin, 23, a weapons specialist.
Galpin, of Mayfield, recently returned home four months after enlisting in the Army. Her two-week leave was a pleasant surprise to her.
"Christmas is my favorite holiday of the entire year. I am like a little kid," Galpin said. " ... I would have been really crushed if I couldn't have been home for Christmas. Christmas is our big family holiday."
The families of Galpin and Furman are happy to have their service members home for Christmas.
Galpin said she wanted to sur-
prise her family with the trip home, but she wasn't able to do that. Her father had planned on a vacation for Christmas, so she had to let them know.
Cindy Galpin, Chelsea's mother, said she was surprised to learn her daughter would be home for Christmas.
"I didn't know about holiday block leave. Apparently, this is something that happens every year," Cindy Galpin said. "It was nice the fact that she was close enough that she could come home."
Chelsea Galpin is stationed in Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
She said she's happy with her choice to join the Army.
She said she made the decision to join in February because she wanted to empower herself. She said she's been surprised at what she has been able to do physically, and she enjoys the job.
"When I joined I was excited, and everyone I know will tell you I counted down days from February until [leaving for duty in] August," Galpin said. "I think I'm even more excited now to see where it actually takes me and to actually do my job in a unit or overseas ... This fits me more than I ever thought a job could."
Both Furman and Galpin explained that since joining their respective branches of the military, they have found they are much stronger than they thought they were.
Galpin said she believes it's an unmatched challenge she had to try,
Furman alluded to the mentality of military life and explained he sees a lot of things differently. He also said he feels more responsible now.
"Because of what I do for a job, working with weapons and ammunition, I feel like I have a greater responsibility," he said. "I feel like I can take on more things."
Furman, who now is stationed on a ship in Norfolk, Va., has had to serve at several locations overseas, he said.
Furman's mother, Missy, said her son coming home was the best Christmas gift she could receive.
She said her son is more mature, but he's still the same person he was before the military.
"Everybody says that they're going to change," she said. "They're not going to be the same people. He's still the same Richard."