Connecticut native in military surprises family on Thanksgiving


After being away for two years, the army computer scientist wanted to surprise her grandmother and her mother on Thanksgiving.

MERIDEN, Connecticut – An Army soldier home for the holidays surprised his mother and grandmother upon his return to the United States on Meriden Thanksgiving morning.

Shanice Smith is an IT specialist in the US Army and had just returned from Kuwait. After being away for two years, she wanted to surprise her grandmother and mother with her return to Thanksgiving.

The first stop was at Grandma’s house, greeting her at her front door with balloons.

“I am proud, I am happy, I am blessed,” said Doreen Esson, Smith’s grandmother.

RELATED: Ben Flanagan Wins 85th Manchester Road Race, Weini Kelati Wins Women’s Race, Sets New Record

Carol Gordon was working at the box office for the Maloney and Platt High School football game in Meriden when she was shocked and delighted to see her daughter a week earlier than expected.

“I was nervous,” Smith said. “It is the first time that I have felt very moved, as if I had not seen any member of my family for two years.”

The moment Gordon saw Smith, she screamed in excitement and jumped up and down with her hands in the air, then received a big hug from her daughter.

“Oh, that was just a surprise, she got me really good,” Gordon said.

She had thought her daughter was staying in Kuwait for Thanksgiving. “I kept asking ‘when are you coming home?’ ”

Before the meeting, Smith had sent Gordon a message wishing him a Happy Thanksgiving from the Kuwait cafeteria, but it was all part of a bigger plan.

Subscribe to FOX61 newsletters: Morning Forecast, Morning Headlines, Evening Headlines

Smith’s aunt, Yvonne Bailey-Wright, was one of the only family members who knew Smith would be home early and helped her plan the surprise reunion. They were inspired by another Army soldier who posted a video of them surprising family members after they returned from active duty.

“We always do surprises. One like this – no,” Bailey-Wright said, “but we’ve always made surprises in the family.”

RELATED: Senior Wallingford Girls Play 50th Powder Puff Flag Football

Smith graduated from Maloney in 2019 and has been on active duty ever since, starting with basic training and ending in Kuwait.

She will be home with her family for 42 days, then return to duty in Fort Drum, NY

Do you have a story idea or something in mind that you want to share? We want to hear from you! Write to us at


Download the FOX61 News app

iTunes: Click here to download

Google play: Click here to download

Stream live on ROKU: Add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching FOX61.

Steam live on FIRE TV: Search for “FOX61” and click “Get” to download.


Comments are closed.