Rep. Rick Noriega, D-Houston, who is serving in the Texas Army National Guard in Afghanistan, came to the House chamber Thursday while home on leave.
Noriega's wife, Melissa, is serving as acting state representative in his place while he is away.
House members gathered closely around the podium to hear the guardsman speak. He told of how beautiful he now finds the drives to be on Texas' country back roads and how proud the state should be of its men and women serving in the armed forces overseas.
"Being where we've been certainly helps you to put your priorities in order on what's important in life," Noriega said.