Family wakes up to Christmas Eve holiday surprise

FRONT ROYAL, Va. (WJLA) – The seven children in the Diamond family woke up Christmas Eve thinking they were headed to the dentist. But their parents, Kentia and Gary Diamond, know their kids have recently felt enough pain.

Gary recently hurt his back, putting him out of work, and their 14-year-old son Martez, who was born with a heart defect, has experienced multiple complications and setbacks in the past two years. These have required weekly trips to and from Philadelphia for treatment.

But on Tuesday morning, there was a vision of relief and joy in the distance in the form of Jolly St. Nick. He arrived at the Community Tabernacle Church in Front Royal – just to bring a smile to the faces of the Diamond children.

One by one, each child ripped into a pile of presents, put together by Jodi Pritchard, a flight nurse with PHI Air Medical.

"Coming back from Afghanistan last year, this is something I was thinking about doing and it came to light now," she said.

She asked local hospitals to help donate gifts, and the United Way connected her with the Diamonds. The chopper was available, and so was Santa.

"It always fills my heart with joy to see all these little girls and boys with their wonderful smiles on their faces," he said.

These faces probably haven’t smiled this wide in some time.