New Carlisle military family receives Christmas surprise

NEW CARLISLE, Ind. (WNDU) - With the holiday season upon us, many military families are reuniting for the first time in months.

Thanks to a special charity, one local family’s time together just got a bit more special.

“He serves our country and she serves within our community and they both are very valuable,” Homes for Heroes representative Jim McKinnies said. “We want them and their family to know that we love them.”

A careful surprise was perfectly executed.

Friday afternoon, Homes for Heroes took over the Olive Township Elementary gym in New Carlisle, turning it into Santa's workshop to surprise a deserving couple.

“I'm speechless,” Laura Schreiber said. “I can't believe they nominated us. I can't believe we were picked.”

Ryan Schreiber was recently stationed for eight months at his Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

His wife, Laura, is a second-grade teacher at the school.

“You don't typically come home and expect this,” Ryan Schreiber said. “You expect traveling and seeing everybody and catching up and doing all of that other stuff and to get this is just amazing. I don't really know what else to say. It's just awesome.”

The Schreibers were one of a dozen families in the country gifted with a perfect Christmas.

Initially, Homes for Heroes did not know Ryan would be home to celebrate.

“This just made this surprise that much more meaningful that they are actually able to be together and experience this together,” McKinnies said.

Next year, Ryan will be completing his 20th year of service and be able to retire, putting the family in an unfamiliar position.

“It might be harder to live together,” Laura Schreiber joked. “We're used to doing it separate.”

Until then, the family is grateful for the continued support.

“We have great support from both of our families,” Laura Schreiber said. “With our daughters there's always someone willing to help and we just make it work.”

Homes for Heroes says they had help from plenty of elves, and Ryan and Laura's friends and family, to pull off such a surprise.