Like most, all Brittany Kerbel wanted for Christmas was to see her family.
But for servicemen and women around the country, that wish at the holidays — or any other time — isn’t always possible.
Kerbel, a 2016 graduate of Bloomfield, been away from family this year while conducting her basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. She enlisted in the Army National Guards on July 10 and started basic training on August 21.
The day she shipped o_ to basic was the last day that she had been home to see family — until she pulled off the big surprise with her mother and siblings.
Kerbel said she started planning the trip in early December. Without knowing the plans of the entire family, she needed an inside source to feed her details of the events for Christmas day.
That is where her uncle, Keith Byrely came into the picture. Kerbel had been in contact with him since the beginning of the month.
“I was too excited. I had to wait (to tell him any sooner). I knew if I would have told him any sooner, it would have just taken longer,” Kerbel said.
Kerbel was picked up in Missouri by her grandparents and then drove back to Stanton where she spent five days with those family members. She stayed with her father until Christmas and managed to keep the surprise quiet from her mother.
With her plans still intact, she called her family in Bloomfield and wished them a Merry Christmas. Kerbel said she would be going to eat with her friends before going to formation.
“I will call you after I eat,” she told her mother.
Kerbel made her way to Ken and Janet Gill’s home in Bloomfield where her family was celebrating Christmas.
Unannounced, she walked into their house. She entered to find the family stunned to see
her after talking to her on the phone just earlier that morning. Kerbel greeted her aunt, uncle,
grandparents, nieces and nephews and — best of all — her mother and stepfather.
After spending Christmas and New Year’s back in Nebraska, Kerbel returned to Missouri on January 3 where she continued her basic training.
She is expected to graduate on January 26. Upon graduation, Kerbel plans to return to the Stanton and Bloomfield area to reside and complete her degree while performing here monthly
National Guard trainings and exercises.