Navy servicewoman surprises siblings with visit to their school

| December 18, 2015 | 0 Comments
Emma Zabinski, center, takes time for a picture with siblings Thomas, left, and Martu at the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield Dec. 18. Zabinski came home on leave from the Navy and surprised her two siblings with a visit to their school. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Emma Zabinski, center, takes time for a picture with siblings Thomas, left, and Martu at the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield Dec. 18. Zabinski came home on leave from the Navy and surprised her two siblings with a visit to their school. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Things were running smoothly at the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield Dec. 18 when students, faculty and staff were gathered for an all-school holiday sing-along.

After a group of seniors capped off the event at 10:45 a.m., a hush fell over the crowd as two students, Martu and Thomas Zabinski, were called forward. They stood puzzled as they wondered why they were being singled out.

They were told to turn toward the gym entrance, and then caught sight of their older sister, Emma, who currently is serving in the Navy as a seaman apprentice. She returned to Minnesota on leave and decided to surprise her two younger siblings at school.

Martu rushed toward her sister and gave her a hug. Thomas joined in, and everyone wiped tears from their eyes during the prolonged greeting. Several local media outlets were there to document the scene. The trio seemed oblivious to the TV and still cameras encircling them as their emotions overflowed.

“This was just a huge surprise,” said Martu, a sophomore. “This is the best [Christmas] present anyone could ever ask for.”

Martu is one of five adopted children in the family, and originally is from Liberia. Thomas, a ninth-grader, is from China. Other children in the family are Darren, 24, Michelle, 17, Mackie, 14, and Louisa, 10. The seven children and their parents, Jon and Kate, attend Holy Name in Minneapolis.

“It felt amazing. . . . I wasn’t expecting them to be so emotional about it,” Emma said, of her appearance at Holy Angels. “It means a lot to know that I can surprise them and be able to be home for Christmas with them this year.”

Emma arrived in the Twin Cities Dec. 16 and will be in town with her family until Dec. 27. She is expecting to be deployed overseas in January.

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