Deployed soldier surprises sister at Springfield High School

Deployed soldier surprises sister at Springfield High School

HOLLAND, OH (WTOL) - In the midst of all the bad news, it's good to hear a heartwarming story such as this one.

US Army PFC Derrick Gilbert has been deployed for more than a year on the front lines in Seoul, South Korea. He celebrated both Christmas and his twentieth birthday away from home.

The time differences and his busy schedule makes it hard for him to keep in contact with his younger sister Kimberly, a sophomore at Springfield High School.

All that changed on Tuesday.

It was the first time Private First-Class Derrick Gilbert walked the halls of Springfield High School, not as a student but as a Soldier in the United States Army.

Gilbert completed his one-year tour in Korea and flew home over the weekend, unbeknownst to Kimberly.

His mission? To surprise his sister with the greatest gift he can give. His safe homecoming.

He told his dad he wanted to surprise his sister, and the staff at Springfield High School sprang into action to make it happen.

Private Gilbert spent the last year stationed in South Korea. He turned 20 in Seoul and spent the holidays away from home.

Gilbert surprised his sister during her JROTC class, and the room was filled with smiles and tears in a wonderful moment you won't want to miss.

Kimberly jumped up and embraced her brother, not letting go of him for a long time.

"I was really upset because I had a Christmas gift for him and I just wanted to see him so bad. I've been praying for him to come. It's just really exciting that I saw my brother walk into my JROTC class that it made me cry," Kimberly said.

"I'm a lot different than what I used to be. She looked a lot different than what she used to be. She used to be this little girl I cared about all the time. Now she's grown up and she's made me so proud," said Private Derrick Gilbert, PFC US Army.

Proud because Kimberly is following in her big brother's footsteps.

"She's learning about military life. It makes me the proudest brother to be," Private Derrick.

"When we were little we always we always played games together, call of duty," Kimberly Gilbert said. We were thinking about fighting on the front lines together because me and him are close. Really close."

Serving our country is something that's runs deep in the Gilbert family. Their father also served in the US Army.

With tensions between North and South Korea making headlines, he says his worries have changed with a child surviving.

"Then things come into reality," said William Gilbert, Disabled Veteran of the US Army. "When you're young you don't think about that stuff too much but as a parent you do."

Private Derrick Gilbert's next mission at home is to catch up on a lot of missed family time on his 24-day leave.

The first item on the agenda is for Derrick to cheer Kimberly on at her swim meet Tuesday night.

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