ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Like many others, Nasia Thomas joined the military as a way to get educated while serving her country.
The 21-year-old senior airman is stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base, which is a long way from her hometown in Tacoma, Wash.
In fact, it’s been nearly two years since she has been back home for the holidays.
This was the impetus behind Thomas writing a letter to “The Real” talk show in Los Angeles.
The Fox daytime talk show – hosted by Adrienne Bailon, Loni Love, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley – is designed to appeal to younger female audiences experiencing new events in their lives.
Thomas wrote to the show, giving a firsthand account of how difficult it is for military personnel being away from home during the holidays.
The production liked the letter so much, Thomas was invited out to Los Angeles on Monday to film as part of the Veterans Day show, which airs at 10 a.m. today on Fox.
“I was under the impression that I was supposed to surprise my mom for the holidays,” Thomas said. “They kind of tricked me.”
While filming, Thomas’ mother, brother and sister came out for the surprise.
“It was an amazing experience,” she said. “I’ve watched the show so many times. I’ve even been part of the audience once. It’s a different feeling being on the couch with the hosts.”
Thomas joined the military in 2014.
“I wanted something to be bigger than myself and make a change,” she said. “I didn’t want to put myself in debt with school either. This was a balance.”
While Thomas enjoys the Duke City, being away from her family is difficult.
“My brother was shot and killed two years ago and my stepfather died a year ago,” she said. “It’s been rough on my mom. She’s with my other brother and sister. She goes to school in the day and works at night. I work in the day and go to school at night. We rarely get a chance to talk. It’s difficult for me not to be with her. She’s always been my rock.”
Thomas knows that her time in the military will pay off. She’s moving up rank faster than she thought.
She also finished her associate degree in nine months.
“After I get out of the military, I want to become a dentist,” she said. “I want to come back and work in clinics on bases.”