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Gov. Abbott salutes troops serving during the holidays

Thousands of soldiers with the Texas Military Dept. and DPS Troopers are deployed along the border under Operation Lone Star.

DEL RIO, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott traveled to Del Rio on Wednesday to serve lunch and lift the spirits of soldiers serving with the Texas Military Department and DPS Troopers.

Thousands of soldiers and troopers are deployed along the Texas Mexico border as part of Operation Lone Star.

Hundreds of these troops are spending time away from their families this Thanksgiving holiday serving under the Governor’s border security mission.

“I am grateful for the men and women who are taking time away from their families, away from their loved ones, away from their homes to serve a mission, serving the people of the great state of Texas,” said Abbott to a packed room of soldiers and troopers at a temporary camp set up near Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio.

Seguin native and DPS Corporal Billie Watson is one of those who will be serving the state away from his family this Thanksgiving.  He said after 27 years of service, his family understands he will be absent during the holidays, and his dedication is to serve and protect.

“It’s always been very important to me to be able to take care of those who are less fortunate, those who can’t take care of themselves, so we always want to do our best to help those that need assistance,” said Watson.

Operation Lone Star kicked off in March where Abbott utilized state resources to assist Border Patrol with protecting the border.

“It is our National Guard and DPS troopers who are on the front lines, the tip of the spear who are keeping Texans safe,” said Abbott.

Abbott continued his pep talk to the troops outlining what he called an important mission of protecting the border from another surge in migrants like the tens of thousands seen in September in Del Rio, and the dangers of cartels smuggling drugs across the border.

“Never before have we had the challenges on the border like we’re having this year,” said Abbott. “There are far more people who’ve come across the border this year than all the people that live in San Antonio.”

The efforts from the troops were visible in Eagle Pass last week where forces created a barrier along the river using vehicles, shipping containers, and manpower.

Abbott said it’s a mission like no other.

“Your role, your mission is to ensure that we restore peacefulness, we restore safety and security in every neighborhood in this entire state,” said Abbott.