WATCH: North Carolina Soldier Surprises Family In Time For Christmas

By Sarah Tate

December 21, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

A soldier's emotional homecoming reunited him with his family in North Carolina this week after nearly a year away, just in time for Christmas.

U.S. Army Private John Gilbert has been away at basic training in Missouri for the past nine months. His wife, second grade teacher Jazmin Gilbert, didn't think he would make it to their Craven County home for Christmas with her and their daughter, Jaylene. On Monday (December 20), however, he found a way to give them the best present of all.

Jazmin Gilbert and her daughter were at school Monday listening to a reading of A Christmas Story when a surprise visitor stopped by, News Channel 12 reports. As Private Gilbert walked in front of the class, Jaylene spots him and shouts "Daddy!" before leaping into his open arms.

"I really didn't even notice until I saw a kid just keep pointing behind me and then I turned around and was like what are they pointing at?" Jazmine Gilbert said. "And then I saw him walk over and I said wait a minute, oh my gosh."

Private Gilbert called the reunion a "dream come true."

"I've never felt anything like this before," he said. "I'm here with my beautiful wife, my beautiful daughter, everything about this is amazing."

Watch the emotional reunion below.

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