LAGUNA HILLS (CBS) — A father, one of the oldest recruits in the U.S. Army. His son, an infantry marine on the front lines. Their safe return from Afghanistan is what their family will celebrate around the Thanksgiving dinner table.
In the midst of a booming dermatology practice in Newport Beach, Dr. Dore Gilbert decided to follow a lifelong dream. He joined the Army at the age of 60. Gilbert was determined not to let his age hold him back.
“I just couldn’t use that as an excuse,” says Gilbert. “I was done with excuses. I wanted to serve my country.”
Gilbert knew the last three months he spent serving as a brigade surgeon in Afghanistan could cost him his life. Still it was the safety of another that was constantly on his mind.
Gilbert’s 22-year-old son, Kevin is a U.S. Marine who was also assigned to Afghanistan.
“A day didn’t go by that I didn’t think about Kevin,” says Gilbert. “He is in imminent danger on a daily basis.”
Kevin survived a suicide bomb attack, but lost 17 members of his unit.
“It’s very unfortunate for their families that they didn’t get to come back,” says Kevin. He knows he’s lucky to be home this Thanksgiving.
Gilbert’s wife, and Kevin’s mom, Gloria knew she had no chance of talking her husband or her son out of enlisting. She says this Thanksgiving together will be one her family will never forget.
“It’s very special,” says Gloria, “because both my boys are home.”
Gilbert says he’s thankful his family is together and healthy. “That, to me, is probably the most important thing in the world,” he says.
Gilbert plans on returning for another deployment in 2013. Kevin is committed for when he’s called back up.