U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Yvonne Jespersen surprised daughters Isa and Elena this afternoon at an Eisenhower Elementary assembly.
Jespersen, who has been deployed in Kuwait for the past year, met with The Squire just before the big surprise. She shared that she was feeling “nervous and terrified,” as well as a little emotional, anticipating being reunited with her children.
Life with a family member away on deployment isn’t easy. As Jespersen explained, “the girls had to change their whole lives for a year.” While spending the year in Kuwait, Jespersen used technology to help her feel closer to her family. She would talk to her daughters via FaceTime at 7 am (2 pm Kuwait time) as they got ready to head to school each morning, and send videos in the mail of her reading books so that the girls could still enjoy that special time with their mom.
It was that tradition of reading together that set the stage for the big surprise, which took a great deal of planning. Jespersen coordinated with her husband, Elloy Garcia, and the school librarian, Ms. Jeanette Walter, to make sure all of the details came together. Elementary school students were taken into the auditorium, with the plan of watching a video recording of Jespersen reading a book. Just a few moments into the story, there appeared to be glitches in the video.
On that cue, Jespersen stepped on stage, saying, “I’m here, so I guess we can just proceed now without the video!” The crowd of students and staff erupted into cheers, and her children ran into her arms for a big hug, a hug 365 days in the making.
Now that she is home, Jespersen is looking forward to running races with her kids and watching them play basketball and dance ballet. She plans to work for the Jamestown Public School District and her family will make Warren County their permanent home. We are honored to have the entire family in our community. Welcome home, Sgt. Jespersen, and thank you for your service!