Coleman Elementary fifth grader Bree Threlkeld had a special guest at her school Christmas party, following the surprise arrival of her military mom, home for the holidays.
Melissa Threlkeld, an E-5 with the U.S. Navy, currently stationed at Virginia’s Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base in the world, walked into her daughter’s room Tuesday morning, only minutes before the class party was about to begin.
“Bree has been so excited in sharing with us that her mother would be coming home for the holidays,” Coleman teacher Ashley Hamel said. “She wasn’t sure just when she would get to Cleburne. I got excited when I received a message from Mrs. Threlkeld asking me if she might surprise Bree at school.”
“Bree is new to Coleman this year, but she has made friends and bonded with all of us,” Hamel said. “It’s like she’s always been a Colt. We knew her mother was in the Navy, but Bree really began to share about her during our Veteran’s Day activities. We all enjoyed the awesome poster she made about her mother.”
Threlkeld said her daughter had asked her on more than one occasion through the years if she could visit her school in uniform.
“For safety reasons, we only wear our fatigues to work,” Threlkeld said. “I thought about coming in my dress uniform, but between my clothes and presents I was bringing, there wasn’t room in the suitcase. I surprised Bree once before, when she was three or four, but I’m not sure how much she remembers. We’ve all seen on TV when a member of the military comes home and surprises their child at school. This is just something I thought I might do.”
Threlkeld, who has been in the Navy for eight years, said she was a ball of emotions as she walked down the hall toward her daughter’s classroom.
“The last time I saw her was in August, following the month she spent with me in Virginia,” Threlkeld said. “I just received a text from her that she couldn’t wait to see me. I have been marking off the days on my desk calendar. I am so anxious to see her.”
Threlkeld, who grew up in Glen Rose, will also be catching up with family there. Both of her grandfathers served in the Navy. Pride rings in her voice when she talks about her work at Norfolk AFB.
“I currently work in administration directly with the Commodore,” she said. “Our office is near the helicopter wing which involves 13 squadrons and 3,500 personnel. Anytime a helicopter is needed—anywhere—the Commodore is notified and we get to work meeting that need.”
“We sent helicopters to assist with Hurricane Harvey,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many people, and dogs, we rescued. We also provided relief assistance following Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, in Puerto Rico. I’m not on the front line in my job, but it takes a team to be successful. I do my part.”
“When I re-enlisted in 2016, both Bree and her older brother, Trent, were at the ceremony and both received certificates,” she said. “The Navy feels is not just the sailor enlisting, but the family as well. When I received my E-5, they both pinned me.”
The Coleman ten-year-old said she was excited to have her mother home for Christmas, and proud to have a military mom.
“I thought maybe I would see her Tuesday night, so it was very exciting to have her come to my school,” she said. “It’s kind of hard not seeing her every day, but I’m proud of her. Having her here is one of my Christmas presents.”
Coleman Elementary fifth grader Bree Threlkeld embraces her military mom, Melissa, who surprised her at school on Tuesday. Threlkeld, a U.S. Navy E-5 stationed at Virginia’s Naval Station Norfolk, hasn’t seen her daughter since August.
Bree Threlkeld, right, participates in her U.S. Navy mother’s re-enlistment ceremony along with her older brother, Trent. (Courtesy Photo)