Local Soldier Surprises Family At Thanksgiving Reunion

Posted on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 12:42 pm

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Christmas came early for a Grundy County soldier who was reunited with his family during a reunion on Thanksgiving at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, the largest Christmas lighting celebration in America, “Kansas City Lights.” Sgt. James Bell, a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crew chief with Company C., 2-1 GSAB, surprised his wife, Trish, and youngest daughter, Lottie, during the Plaza Lighting Ceremony on November 28 by greeting them onstage after returning home early from Afghanistan a day earlier for the event. Bell, the son of Elizabeth A. Bell of Tracy City, was chosen from among 8,000 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan to surprise his family. Before coming onstage to meet his wife, Bell waited in a nearby tent set up to appear as if he were making an Internet phone call from Afghanistan. Bell was told to greet his wife and say, “I wish I could be there with you,” after his wife greeted him. When Bell said the line, the camera zoomed out revealing that Bell was not actually alone, but with actor Rob Riggle, a Kansas City native and Dustin Colquitt, punter for the Kansas City Chiefs. “Wish granted,” said Riggle. He and Colquitt then escorted Bell onstage where the Bell family was reunited in front of more than 100,000 people who had come to the tree lighting ceremony. Following the ceremony, the family was taken to a nearby restaurant that had been prepared to receive them. Bell said he was thrilled to be selected to surprise his family. “I feel great about it, and I’m grateful to be back in America and to be with my wife and family.”

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