Home for the HolidaysDec 27th, 2010 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: top story
The students at Belle Chasse Primary School got a surprise from Santa during their annual Christmas play, but for Blake, Kaleb and Zachary Champagne, it was especially memorable.
Their dad, Lieutenant Colonel Brian Champagne, was the one dressed in the Santa Claus costume; he had been stationed in Baghdad since June, and wasn’t due home for another week.
Ltc. Champagne arrived back in the U.S. on Dec. 12, and after he finished the necessary medical examinations and various paperwork at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, was able to make it in time to surprise his sons on Friday, Dec. 17.
“I can’t say enough how much this means to me,” Champagne said backstage before donning the famous red suit and beard. “I think they’re going to be stunned. They aren’t expecting me until next week.”
The idea and much of the preparation was thanks to the principal and employees of BCP said Champagne.
“[The administration] has been very supportive throughout my deployment,” he continued. “They go the extra mile to make the children feel special.”
Toward the end of the play, Blake, age 9, Kaleb and Zachary, six-year-old twins, were “randomly” selected from the audience of students to come on-stage and identify the Santa imposter. They ran into their father’s arms when they realized it was him.
Champagne also served in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, but he said there won’t be any more deployments for him for a long time.