‘No present can compare:’ Craven County family reunited in time for the holidays

New Bern

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – It was a Christmas miracle, Private John Gilbert with the U.S. Army surprising his family at school. Gilbert’s wife, Jazmin, is a second-grade teacher, and her daughter, Jaylene, is a student at Oaks Road Academy in Craven County.

“I didn’t even really notice until I saw kids kept pointing behind me and I was like, ‘what are they pointing at?'” Jazmin said. “I saw him and I was like wait a minute, that’s my husband. It was just a big big shock to me because told me he wasn’t coming home, so I just assumed this holiday we wouldn’t have him here.”

Gilbert left home nearly eight months ago for basic training in Missouri. He’s now stationed in Oklahoma with the Army Air Defense, and currently, he’s home for the holidays.

“I’m truly appreciative of the time I have now with them,” Gilbert said. “It makes me feel truly blessed. This is what I go to work for every day, to make sure my family is good and make sure the country is safe.”

For the Gilbert family, it’s a Christmas they’ll always remember.

“Wow….you can’t see it on my face because of this mask, but I can’t stop smiling,” Jazmin said.

“Everything about this is amazing, it’s really a dream come true,” John added. “No present can compare.”

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