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  Comments (2) Total Thursday Apr. 24, 2014
Home for the Holidays
Beacon contest winner Janet Coombs welcomes mother to the Flathead for Christmas
Loretta Lick wipes tears from her eyes as she is greeted by her daughter, Janet Coombs, and grandson, Ryan Rinebold at the Glacier Park International Airport on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. Lick hadn't seen her Rinebold for 12 years before the reunion. - Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon
Many people view the holidays as a time to get together with family, to update one another on our journeys through life and enjoy the latest evolution of family dynamics.

But for some, such gatherings can be impossible, due to life circumstance, finances, or any other combination of reasons. For Janet Coombs of Whitefish, being a single mom of three kids meant she didn't have the money to fly her family to see her mother, Loretta Lick, in Long Beach, Calif.

Nor did Loretta have the money or the time to get up to Whitefish; at 70, Loretta is an active foster mother for children with disabilities, and leaving on a vacation was not financially feasible.

They hadn't seen each other in 13 years, Janet said, and she wasn't sure when she'd get the chance to see her mom again.

With that in mind, Janet applied to the Flathead Beacon's Home for the Holidays contest, in which the Beacon offers to fly home a family member for Christmas. The contest was co-sponsored by Flathead Travel and 26 other area businesses.

Janet's story was selected as the winner, and Loretta arrived at Glacier Park International Airport on Dec. 23, just after Janet and her three kids had gotten a Christmas tree.

"I'm 46, so I was 6 years old the last time (my mom) saw snow," Janet said.

While Loretta was in town, each of Janet's kids – ages 18, 25, and 27 – got to spend a day with grandma. She went to the top of Big Mountain, she decorated the family tree, and she knitted with a granddaughter.

By the time Loretta was back at the airport to fly home on Dec. 27, Janet said the week had flown by.

"She had the best time; we all had a great time," Janet said. "It was not enough time."

It was an emotional trip, Janet said, because you never know where life will take you next, and when you'll see your far-flung loved ones again. The family watched a projected slide show of when Janet was a baby, and gave Loretta a large canvas photo of Janet and the kids to take back with her.

"It was excellent," Janet said. "It was the most wonderful experience for everyone; we were so happy."
On 12-31-13, Gators commented....
Wow..that’s great.  I’ll take more stories like that any day of the week!!
Kellyn Brown
Kellyn Brown3h
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Dillon Tabish
Dillon Tabish3h
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Molly Priddy
Molly Priddy36m
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Tristan Scott
Tristan Scott23 Apr
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