TAMPA (FOX 13) - Family, friends, fellow officers, and even strangers gathered at Tampa International Airport Wednesday to welcome a Navy officer - and Pinellas Park police officer - home after he was deployed to the Middle East for the last year.
Pinellas Park police officer and Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer, Christopher Gibbs has been in the Navy for two decades, and with Pinellas Park police since 2012. This trip overseas was his fifth deployment.
Gibbs returned home Wednesday after a year in the Middle East, providing defense for U.S. ships at sea.
After the hugs and the welcomes, Gibbs spoke to FOX 13 News about his life of service and why he continues to sacrifice for the sake of others.
"I just have this insatiable need to help others and serve my community," Gibbs said. "I do miss work. I miss the time with my wife and friends and family, and just relaxing."
Gibbs added, his family is what keeps him going.
"Very excited to have him, to be back, to get back to [a] normal routine, normal jobs, normal lives," said Sarah, his wife.
Normal for officer Gibbs means continuing to do what he does best - serve and help others. He's been a patrol officer with Pinellas Park for four years, and has a role on the sometimes-dangerous SWAT as well.
"My military experience, 20 years in, it carries over into the police department, when I deal with people every day," Gibbs explained.
"We're very proud of Officer Gibbs. He served our country well, he served our community well, and we're just thrilled to be getting him back," said Chief Michael Haworth.