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St. Francisville girl gets an unexpected -- and heartwarming -- Christmas gift

1 year 5 months 5 days ago Tuesday, December 20 2022 Dec 20, 2022 December 20, 2022 4:48 PM December 20, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

ST. FRANCISVILLE – Bella Hanemann sat amid her classmates on Monday morning during an assembly at Bains Lower Elementary and listened as her principal, Elizabeth Bristow, shared a story about a recent phone call.


“I was sleeping. Ms. Bristow goes to bed very, very early,” she told the children. “Everyone knows don’t call me after 8:30. And my phone rang around midnight.”

On the other end was none other than Santa Clause, she told the children, some whose faces lit up in delight.

Bella looked on and listened as Bristow told the students that Santa said he needed help.

“There’s a little girl at Bains Lower that had a very special request,” Bristow recalled Santa telling her. “I need you to help, because I can’t put it in my sleigh.”

Bristow promised she’d help Santa however she could.

Bristow turned to Bella and asked her to come forward. Bella refused, shaking her head no and pulling her knees to her chest.

Her mood would change seconds later.

Bristow announced that Bella asked for someone to come home for Christmas – and she said that someone was there.

Amid claps and cheers, the assembly welcomed Private First Class John Paul Hanemann IV.

He’s also known as Jace – and better known to Bella as her big brother.

She quickly realized what was happening and who was there. She raced to her brother and hopped into his arms, hugging him with all her might.

“Let me dry my tears up,” Bristow said as the two continued their embrace after Bella received the gift she really wanted.

The family will now spend the next three weeks together before Jace leaves for a four-year deployment to Germany.

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