Reunited Military Family Garners National Coverage

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

Mariah and Destiny Wilder just wanted their father home from Iraq for the holidays.

Specifically, Mariah asked for her "daddy in a box for Christmas."

So when the girls' mother found out her husband was coming home, she decided to make Mariah's dream come true.

At school Thursday, Dec. 13, Army Sergeant Matthew Wilder surprised his daughters by coming gift-wrapped inside a giant Christmas box.

Friday morning, the family appeared on "Good Morning America".

"When my dad popped out, I was really excited," Mariah Wilder assured.

It was a Christmas gift from dad that Destiny and Mariah never expected.

"He picked me up and I was crying and I was really excited when he popped out of that box," Mariah continued.

"This is his fourth deployment, so when he got to come home early this time it was great," explained his wife, Desiray.

Sgt. Wilder says he never expected such a fuss to be made about his gesture of love.

"It won't even make the paper. I didn't even think the school was going to be there. I thought it was going to be us, but it turned out to be more than that," Sgt. Wilder said.

The family got another shock as they were featured on "Good Morning America" to talk about the family reunion.

"I was happy, but a little nervous to talk," said oldest daughter, Destiny.

Sgt. Wilder said he enjoyed the chance to be on national television, mainly so he could show the country a different side of military families during wartime.

"Military families aren't always down all the time. We're supported 100-percent and I think its really great," Sgt. Wilder said.

For the Wilder family, it was a moment in time--shared with the world.

"If I had a moment in my life to re-live, I think that would be one of them," Sgt. Wilder admitted.

"There's no way to top this and I think they'd catch on next time since we've already done it once," Desiray agreed.

Sgt. Wilder was supposed to be stationed in Iraq until sometime next year, but was sent back early.

He'll now get to spend a few weeks at home with his family before heading off to aviation school.


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