Santa brings military dad home one week before Christmas

A soldier surprised his family after 3 and a half months in Syria, one week before Christmas. (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska. (KTVF) Captain Jeffrey Grace returned home after three and a half months in Syria to surprise his family a week before Christmas. His son Remington is two and a half years old and asked Santa to bring his dad home for Christmas.

Grace says this surprise was actually his son’s idea. “Last year we took him out to see Santa during the firetruck ride because the guys do this every year. Ever since then, frankly it was a year and a half I figured he wouldn’t really remember that much but ever since then he’s kind of been bringing it up how much he loved the firetrucks and Santa Claus and that kind of thing. As things got closer to Christmas time he started to see Christmas decorations, that type of thing, he started asking my wife if Santa was bringing dada home for Christmas this year. That was when I was supposed to be getting back a lot later, so of course that hit me to the heart pretty good,” said Jeffrey

When he found out he was going to be coming home earlier, he had the idea to reach out to the Fort Wainwright Fire Department to see if they could help him pull off a homecoming surprise.

Captain Justin Boddy with Fort Wainwright Fire Department says he was immediately excited when Grace reached out to see if it would be possible. “Got the wheels in motion with our command and I knew they weren’t going to say no to the request, and so we just started building the plan. Just been communicating and seeing when he was actually going to arrive home and getting the crew here a plan and Santa in place, it’s been a pretty fun experience,” said Boddy.

His family was not expecting him for another month or so. “I told them plan on the nine months and then if its earlier great, and then probably should be more so before February, but as time went along it got kicked back further and further and further, but they have absolutely no idea that I’m here,” said Grace.

We spoke to Grace at the fire station before the surprise and he said he was looking forward to holding his children. “Being able to kiss my wife again, it’s been a really long time. This was the second winter for my wife; she was alone last winter as well because of going to NTC, doing the pre-deployment thing. I’ve done a lot of training since then, so I’ve spent a lot of time away from them, so she was really really hoping I’d be able to be back for Christmas, but at this point she doesn’t think that’s going to occur so it’s going to be quite a surprise for her,” said Grace.

The firefighters went to their house and told his wife that there was an alarm that they had to check. Then they surprised Remington with Santa. When Santa asked the son Remington what he wanted for Christmas, Remington said he wanted his dad to come home on a fire truck. Then, his dad walked in the door surprising his wife Sara, son Remington and four-month-old daughter Hailey.

Sara was speechless after seeing her husband walk in the door months earlier than she was expecting him.

“Speaking on behalf of the crew here we enjoy doing these kinds of things for the soldiers that we serve and who serve us. It’s an exciting event to do the Santa stuff here on post,” said Boddy.

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