Sgt. Jason Glidden, 36, was originally set for a one year deployment in Iraq, leaving behind a heavyhearted family knowing dad would miss Christmas. Last Tuesday, his three children were given a Christmas to remember; dad came home early.
Sgt. Glidden called his wife Courtney to tell her he would be home earlier than expected but wanted to leave it a surprise to his three children. The excitement of his return extended to the staff at Curtis Elementary, where preparations were made for the surprise return. “It is exciting,” said Assistant Principal Susan Pereira. “I have never seen anything like this in person. It is a great Christmas gift. We have all the tissues.”
With several extended family members and a lot of media, Evan, 10; Camryn, 7; and Hailey, 6, had smiles as well as tears and, because of the media hype, a little confusion when Dad appeared.
It was returning home from school and in the security of their home that normalcy returned for Evan, Camryn and Hailey. “The kids were really happy when they came home from school,” Courtney Glidden said. “Camryn came home with us, but Hailey and Evan wanted to remain in school. All Camryn could say about the surprise was that her heart was beating really fast. Hailey said she thought it was a dream when she saw her dad Evan asked why they didn’t come into his classroom and I told him I knew it would embarrass him. He agreed with me.” As the dust settled from the day, the family was able to finally cuddle up to Dad and ask him how his trip had been.
Sgt. Glidden had served in the Navy for 11 years and then volunteered for the National Guard. This was his second deployment. The first was in 2006-2007 for seven months in Kuwait. Following that deployment he worked as a National Guard recruiter until he was deployed six months ago in Iraq, assigned to serve in personal security.
“I am just happy to be home,” said Sgt. Glidden.
He said next week he will relax and adapt to civilian life. Mom has pretty much completed all the Christmas shopping and said it is job hunting for her husband.
“He has been submitting applications for work prior to coming home but still no luck,” she said. “Bad time to be looking for a job, but his main focus right now is to find work.”