A Christmas surprise for mom of two marines - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

A Christmas surprise for mom of two marines

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The Holidays are traditionally a time to spend with your loved ones.  But for military families that is certainly not a guarantee.  And that's why one local mom is feeling very lucky this holiday season.  Tia Whitesel is thrilled to have her son and daughter home in South Bend.  They're both Marines  stationed in different parts of the country.  They're happy to have this Christmas together because future deployments will keep them apart for a long time.

Their big reunion started Friday afternoon at the South Bend airport.  Lance Corporal Chelsea Ross hugged her brother Private First Class Chad Douglas as he arrived at the airport.  They hadn't seen each other in months.  While hugging the brother and sister told each other, "I love you."

But the reunion didn't stop there, the two then went to Tire Rack so they could surprise their mom while she worked.  Mom started crying as soon as she saw her two marines.  Chelsea's been home for a week and Tia Whitesel knew her boy was coming home too, she just didn't know exactly when, or that he'd show up at her office.  "I just had no clue...Nobody let me know nothing," said Whitesel.

Tia said not knowing when he was getting home was stressing her out so when she first saw him she felt, "relieved and stressed."

After that surprise the family reunion continued at a local restaurant called P and G, which is owned by grandma and grandpa.  Everyone gathered to talk, laugh, and hug.  They'll be doing a lot of that these next few days, Chelsea deploys in a few weeks.  "I'll be going to Afghanistan," said Chelsea.  While she's gone Chad will be deployed overseas.  So this holiday season is extra special.  "This will be the last time our family will be together for three to four years," said Chad.  That fact makes this holiday season a very emotional one for all of them.  "There is not a present or anything in this world that I would rather get for Christmas than to see my brother home and spend time with the rest of my family here," said Chelsea.

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