What a present!Christmas arrives early for children of military mom

By on December 21, 2011

By: MICHELLE REIFF Review Staff mreiff.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

For some children a Christmas wish may be a new bike, a scooter, maybe a favorite video game. But last Friday two youngsters got something even better.

Clay Elementary School students Taylor and Gavin Frymyer (third grade and kindergarten, respectively) received a real-life Christmas surprise when their mom, who had been serving in the Navy in Iraq for a year, popped out of a refrigerator-sized box at an assembly to greet them.

The family was unavailable on several attempts made by the Ephrata Review for interview, but Taylor’s teacher, Jamie Avery, was able to share the details of this extraordinary event.

"Taylor came in class with updates about her mom quite often," said Avery. "One day she came in all excited because she was told her mom might be coming home before Christmas.

Avery spoke to Shawn Frymyer, Taylor’s dad, and asked if her mom, Rebekah Gundrum, wanted to come in during class one day and surprise her.

"On my drive home that night my mind just started coming up with these ideas for bigger, better things," said Avery.

Since the children were not sure when their mom would be home — originally she was not to return until February — it was decided that Gundrum, a petty officer first class (YN1) in theater linquist management, would surprise her children with her visit at a Toys for Tots assembly, since she has always been active in this charity.

On the day of the assembly, Shawn told his children he was on a trip for work, when really he was traveling to pick up their mom in Tennessee, where she is stationed and arrived nearly a week before.

Clay students were told they had collected 100 gifts for the Olivets Boys and Girls Club in Reading. That day the youngsters were celebrating the fact that they had made the holiday better for these children, who may hot have had the joy of opening something on Christmas morning.

Little did they know Christmas was about to get better for two of their own as well.

"I told the students that one lucky kid was going to get this amazing, one of a kind, holiday surprise to take home with them," said Avery.

Joy Darkes, school principal, came up and picked a name, which was Taylor’s. Taylor came up on stage and got her brother to help her. At the count of three they opened the present, wrapped with a big red bow, and out popped their mom.

"The look on Taylor’s face was priceless," said Avery. "I think her mouth dropped to the floor and she just jumped on her mom."

Gavin was also shocked and very happy to see her. The children had both missed their mom very much, and she missed them.

Following the emotional reunion, the family plans nothing more than to just enjoy the time they will spend together this Christmas. More PRESENT, page A26

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