Military family surprises loved one coming home for Christmas

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A military family says they’ve received the best Christmas gift. Their daughter is home now from training in the Air Force just in time for the holiday.

John Goodenbury knows what it’s like to be away from family. He’s a technical sergeant in the United States Air Force.

“When I was 18 I spent a Christmas in Germany away from family and it was, it was hard,” said John Goodenbury.

Now, what’s even harder is waiting to see his daughter, Hope, at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

“She’s never been away for longer than four or five days on a class trip,” said Goodenbury.

Hope, who’s 18-years-old, has been away at training in Texas for the Air Force.

She was able to get leave to come home for Christmas. Hope was planning to surprise her friends and family, but when she stepped off a plane Saturday — there was a surprise waiting for her. Family and friends showed up to welcome her home.

“Being home is all I could, all I need. It was amazing,” said Hope Goodenbury.

Goodenbury says the air force is one big family.

“The people from my unit who showed up to support hope I mean it’s one big family. It’s literally family for us,” said John Goodenbury.

Even other members of the Air Force showed up to welcome Hope home.

“It just shows how big the Air Force is on family and how big of a family they really are,” said Hope.

Goodenbury says he couldn’t have hoped for a better Christmas gift.

“It’s just been a blessing just to have her home two days before Christmas,” said John.

Hope says there’s one thing she had to do first once she stepped off the plane and that’s get Tim Horton’s. She’ll be home for 10 days before heading back to Texas. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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