Gulfport Seabee surprises son on his 7th birthday - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport Seabee surprises son on his 7th birthday

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) -

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Thursday was more than just St. Patrick's Day for one lucky leprechaun.

"It's my birthday," said Jarren Burnett, a first grader at Pass Christian Elementary School.

When asked what he wanted for this seventh birthday, Jarren replied: "A Nerf Stampede."

Jarren's big day was about to get even better, because his dad, a Gulfport Seabee, was waiting to surprise him.

"When I was younger, my dad wasn't around all the time," said James Burnett. "The last three birthdays, I've actually been deployed or some type of operational commitment. So I had an opportunity to get here for this one."

Burnett deployed to Rota, Spain, back in December. He returned Wednesday night, but stayed on base so he could keep the visit a secret from Jarren.

"I called him this morning [Thursday] on the phone and told him happy birthday and I had to go to work," said Burnett.

The moment James and his wife Lakkisha walked into the school cafeteria, Jarren's face immediately lit up.

"Dad!" Jarren shouted as he jumped up and hugged his dad.

"What's up buddy?" Burnett asked.

"I thought you were in Spain?" Jarren asked.

"Happy birthday!" his dad told him.

When asked about his dad's surprise visit, Jarren smiled and said, "That's what I'm talking about."

Jarren also said it was the best birthday present ever. It was a birthday gift Jarren didn't dare wish for, because he's been disappointed before. Jarren said it was hard not having his dad home. 

"It was like I didn't have one family," he said.

Mom was overwhelmed with emotion.

"Tears of joy, not sadness. This has been a long time coming," said Lakkisha Burnett. "I feel like it's my birthday and my Christmas and it's my own holiday."

Even dad couldn't hold back the tears.

"Family's very important, very important to me as well," said Burnett.

And regarding his emotional reunion with his son, Burnett said "It's awesome. It's awesome. It's a blessing."

The family celebrated Jarren's birthday with a dinner Friday and they'll have a party Saturday. James Burnett will head back to Spain in less than two weeks.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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