“I just can’t believe you’re here,” Miranda Martin kept repeating.
Miranda’s husband, Sergeant James Martin, had minutes before given her the surprise of her life.
After an 11-month tour of duty in Kuwait and Qatar, James walked out to meet his family – who was standing next to Jeff Jimerson out on the ice as part of Trib Total Media's Hometown Hero campaign – moments before the singing of the national anthem at the Penguins-Coyotes game on Saturday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center.
Miranda immediately dropped to her knees when she saw her husband for the first time in almost a year.
“It’s been so long since I’ve seen him,” Miranda said. “I’ve been waiting for this day for so long since he left.”
After she regained composure, the hugs wouldn’t cease.
“She wouldn’t let me go,” James laughed. “I was like, you’re squishing (our son) James.”
James arrived in Pittsburgh last night, but plans had been in the works for the surprise since last October. Meeting at a Penguins game was a no-brainer, as the couple frequents CONSOL Energy Center.
“We love going to Penguins games together,” Miranda said. “We always go to the Fifth Avenue Café before the games and come to the games together. ‘Sid’ (Sidney Crosby) usually scores a hat trick when we come, so hopefully he does tonight.”
“(I’m a) huge Penguins fan,” James added. “I’m from West Mifflin and I’ve been a Penguins fan all my life.”
In the time that James was gone, the family of four communicated via Wi-Fi through text, email or FaceTime. They don’t have to do that any longer.
“I’m just overwhelmed,” Miranda said. “There’s so much joy and happiness to know that my husband is home and he’s safe.”