Columbia, SC (WLTX)- Thanksgiving came early for over 900 soldiers at Ft. Jackson. For some, it was their first Thanksgiving away from home, but the love that went into their dinner made up.

For Yan Cruz San Miguel, a holiday dinner in his home island of Puerto Rico- is all about family. They get together to pray, talk to each other and just have some quality time together.

This Thanksgiving was the first time he wasn’t there to do that with them but he says he’s still so thankful for the experience he’s getting here, “when you're away from home you feel sad but I'm doing this for a purpose I'm doing this for my family [and my mom] because I come from a very poor house and I really want to support her” said Cruz.

While Cruz could taste the love, Natasha Williams from New York could feel the love. Through the hand written letters left by Chapin Middle School Students.

Hers read, “thank you for protecting our freedom” smiling and looking at the card Williams told News19, “I wanted to burst into tears because it was so warm it just made me feel so thankful to know that there are people out there thanking me for it and honestly I feel like I haven't don't anything but there are people out there who think so.”

While it wasn’t Thanksgiving in their Puerto Rico or New York homes, it did have all the ingredients for a lovely Thanksgiving with their new family.

Over two thousand pounds of turkey was cooked as a part of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.