Salem girls get Christmas surprise while father is deployed - KPTV - FOX 12

Salem girls get Christmas surprise while father is deployed

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SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

While her husband is deployed to Afghanistan, a Salem woman wanted to do something to make Christmas a little more special for her kids while their father is away.

For 30 years, Army Staff Sgt. David Watson has served his country as a member of the U.S. military. He's been all over the world, including Iraq, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, and Macedonia.

Watson's wife, Melanie, said her husband's commitment to his country is something she's always admired. It reminds her of her father, she said. 

"He wants to do things for other people all the time. He thinks of everybody before himself. You know, he loves his country, and he's proud of what he does," she said.

David Watson's latest deployment in May took him to Afghanistan several months after their son was born.

Colin was diagnosed with a rare, metabolic disorder called VLCADD, Melanie Watson said. It doesn't allow his body to make enzymes that digest fats.

Caring for a newborn son and two pre-teen daughters at home has been tough, especially with her husband being so far away from home, she said.

"It's difficult. There's really no easy way to prepare them for him being gone," she said.

Melanie Watson heard about a program called Christmas Decor's Decorated Family earlier this year on Facebook. She applied and wasn't sure if she'd be chosen. 

"Wow! What a great opportunity to surprise my kids and really make Christmas special for them," she said.

Isaac Kearns, one of the co-owners of C and D Landscape Company, read about her story and decided she would be the perfect recipient for the program. Franchise owners donate their products, resources, and time to decorate the homes of deserving military families across the country.

While her daughters were at school on Monday, Melanie Watson watched through her window as Kearns and his employees installed more than 5,000 Christmas lights on her family's home outside.

"They're just gonna come home and be shocked," said Melanie Watson. 

"When we see the kids and if we can put a smile on the kids' face ... that right there hits me and it makes it all worth it," said Kearns.

Kearns' crew finished putting every light into place by 3 p.m. Monday, five hours after they began. 

Melanie Watson picked her daughters up from school. They were completely surprised as she rounded the corner to their newly-decorated home. 

"Whoa!" Meghan Watson exclaimed.

"It looks pretty!" said Cordelia Naranjo.

They all got out of the car and took a quick look before the two girls went running up to the front door to give another family member a hug.

Both girls said the kind gesture will make their Christmas a little brighter while their father is away.

"I would say 'Merry Christmas' and 'I miss you. I love you.'" said Naranjo.

"I would say that I love and miss him, and that I'm really thankful that people actually care enough to do this for us," said Meghan Watson.

Kearns said he's glad to do it.

Just seeing all of their smiles made all the work worth it, he said.

"I hope you guys have a very Merry Christmas, and hopefully it's just a little bit brighter," Kearns said to the family after the surprise was revealed. 

Kearns' crew also did some landscaping work on the Watsons' home during their visit.

David Watson is scheduled to return home early next year.

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