Thanksgiving comes early for soldier and children

Authored by Jim Langham on Nov 25, 2013

Thanksgiving doesn’t get any better than it did at South Adams Elementary School this past week.
It was just before noon on Thursday when Peter Bierbaum, a member of the military police with the U.S. Army, showed up at school, fresh from a flight from Colombia, South America, to Indianapolis, to embrace and surprise his children, Aleena and Deacon.
For those present in the elementary office, it was instant tears for Aleena, when she saw her daddy standing and waiting for her inside the office. Emotion flowed among office employees who witnessed the special moment.
Seconds later, Bierbaum, with his daughter in his arms, walked down the long hall to the classroom of Denise Habegger, where his son, Deacon, was involved in a discussion group.
“Daddy,” screamed out Deacon as his father and sister walked into the classroom. For several moments, the threesome embraced in what Bierbaum later referred to as the “best Thanksgiving gift ever.” Once there had been the initial greeting, Habegger allowed students to ask Bierbaum some questions about his service with the Army.
When Deacon left with his dad and sister, several of the students started to cry because they thought their classmate was leaving forever to go to another country with his father. Habegger assured them that Deacon was just leaving for the day to spend time with his dad since he hadn’t seen him for almost a year.
“I am so excited. I was excited to have a front row seat to this reunion. There’s no way to describe it,” said Habegger.
Bierbaum returned from a year of service in the Bogota, Columbia, area as a member of the military police force. He said that he was informed two weeks ago that he would be coming home prior to Thanksgiving.
“It’s always a good feeling to be here for a holiday,” said Bierbaum. “That’s pretty rare. The next time it might not be that way.”
Bierbaum, who has served in the Army for 11 years, has served twice in Iraq, once in Afghanistan and at several assignments across the United States. His current station is in Hawaii.
“It’s so good to see the children; they are really growing up,” said Bierbaum, who is on a 10-day leave. “Hearing Deacon say, ‘daddy,’ was music to my ears.’
“It’s a great feeling to be able to serve,” continued Bierbaum. “A very small percentage of people are able to do it. It’s a great career with a lot of experiences.”
Bierbaum said that he has three years left in his current assignment term.
“Deacon, what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving,” said Habegger with a wide smile on her face.
“I’m glad to have my daddy home,” said the child enthusiastically.
“It’s great to have everybody reunited for Thanksgiving,” said Peter Bierbaum’s brother, David Bierbaum. “It’s going to be a good Thanksgiving this year.”


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