Horton Family Gives Thanks for Quintuplets

Josh and Taunacy Horton fell in love while serving their country. When Taunacy finished her stint in the Navy and Josh finished his time with the Marines, they immediately began a family.

After having two children, the Hortons wanted to expand their family further, but Taunacy, 28, was having trouble conceiving.

While the Hortons were busy with their day-to-day lives in suburban Oswego, Ill., the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks changed everything for them. They were so moved that they decided Josh should re-enlist in the Marine Reserves so they might serve their country again.

The couple discovered Taunacy was pregnant with quintuplets just two weeks before Josh was scheduled to leave for Iraq. Taunacy had been taking fertility drugs.

While Josh, 28, would have been permitted to stay home, given the family's circumstances, he decided that he wanted to help other fathers get a break from Iraq so they could see their own children.

"We figured that there are other husbands that, you know, were far away in Iraq ask it was their turn to come home. It was the least I could do to let them come home to their families," Josh Horton said on ABC News' Good Morning America.

While Josh was away, the Hortons received a number of pleasant surprises from their friends and neighbors.

A local builder gave the Hortons a house. Generous donors filled it with two dishwashers, two washing machines and a fully loaded kitchen for the expanding family.

"There just been such an outpouring of love and interest and people want to help," said family friend Chelsea Fife.

But as they were waiting for their brand-new family members to arrive, tragedy struck.

Josh was seriously wounded by mortar fire in Iraq on Oct. 7. He woke up in the Bethesda Medical Center in Maryland five days later, unaware that Taunacy had prematurely given birth to their quintuplets.

Josh was unable, due to his injuries, to hold his babies for about three weeks.

His three girls and two boys weighed between 1 pound, 9 ounces and 1 pound, 15 ounces, and were in critical but stable condition after their birth.

Sadly, one of the quintuplets, Addyson, died 19 days after her birth due to an infection.

"She was the biggest and the strongest out of all of them," Taunacy said. "God needed an extra angel and has one."

The other Horton babies are still being cared for at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill.

The Hortons say they're feeling more thankful this Thanksgiving than they have in previous years. The couple says they've learned more than they could have ever imagined about love, family, friends and the fragility of life in just less than nine months.

Horton Family Fund
Harris Bank
PO Box 6201
Carol Stream, IL