Soldier Surprises Metcalfe County Mother

"I think about her almost everyday." -Seaman Jeremy Phillips, U.S. Navy

EDMONTON, Ky. (WBKO) -- "I think about her almost everyday." said U.S. Navy Seaman, Jeremy Phillips.

Arlinda Kessler has been teaching for the Metcalfe County Schools for three years. Nearly two of those years have been without her son Jeremy. He's been in Japan serving in the Navy, and isn't due back until March. At least, that's what she thinks.

"I've been wanting to surprise her since I went to Japan. I've been wanting to come home and surprise her if I got to." said Phillips, who is Kessler's son.

While Jeremy tucked away back stage, students prepared for a holiday performance; but it couldn't begin until the teachers lined up to say the pledge. It was that moment when Mrs. Kessler got exactly what she'd been wanting for Christmas. Her son Jeremy appeared from behind the curtains and she ran to his arms in tears. They hugged for minutes before saying a word to each other. Once the shock subsided, Kessler looked back on the surprise of a lifetime.

"I thought it was strange that we were practicing the pledge because we were just supposed to be practicing for our singing tonight. When the flag wasn't there, and they had the teachers come forward we don't normally do that. I thought I was going to pass out. I was just really tickled to see him. I wasn't expecting it. I was really excited."

"It went just as well as I wanted it to." added Phillips.

For nearly two years, all Arlinda Kessler had of her son were memories. She says it's those recollections that help her when she misses him most.

"Jeremy always sucked his thumb and held your ear. Any time ... (laughter) ... even in preschool with his preschool teacher."

All holiday season, Mrs. Kessler said she wanted one gift.

"I just need all of our family together. All I wanted was for him to be home for Christmas."

Now that she's got it, she plans to cherish it.

"I want to take every minute I can with him. I just want to value every minute I have with him."

Jeremy plans to spend 16 days with his family before going back overseas. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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