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News-Times Happy Holidays from the



Toys don’t top letters to Santa this year. A10

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2012 | Vol. 113, No. 101 | | 75¢

Home for the holidays

Rebecca Olson / Whidbey News-Times

After his children asked Santa to bring their dad home for the holidays, Keenan Elsen removed his Frosty the Snowman mask to the joy of his kids, from left, Kaden, Delilah, Nivaeh and Kylie. Family and friends planned the surprise for Thursday evening.

Family, friends stage early Christmas surprise By REBECCA OLSON Staff reporter

When Desire Elsen brought her four children to Christmas Village at Home Depot Thursday evening, the kids had no idea that their biggest Christmas present was arriving early. When Desire, Nivaeh, 10, Kylie, 8, Kaden, 6, and

Delilah, 4, arrived at the festive Christmas Village, they excitedly got photos with Frosty the Snowman before dashing around to see the horses and other animals. As they posed with the beloved Christmas character, the kids had no idea that underneath the Frosty costume was their dad, Keenan,

who has been deployed since June with VAQ-140 as an Aviation Structural Mechanic Equipment First Class on the USS Eisenhower. The squadron was scheduled for a nine-month deployment but the ship returned early to Norfolk, Va. and Keenan will get to spend a few months at home before

deploying for another six months in February. As the kids delightedly took a train ride around the parking lot with Frosty, Desire watched, her face glowing with joy. She knew her husband was dressed as Frosty but See SURPRISE, A8

Single mom and son reunited for holiday season By KATHY REED Staff reporter

Kathy Reed/Whidbey News-Times

Nine-year-old Nathan Dixon gives his mom, LS1 Pilar Arteaga, a dazed smile after she surprised him Thursday morning at Broadview Elementary School. Dixon didn’t expect to see his mom again until March.

A third-grade student at Broadview Elementary School in Oak Harbor got an early present from Santa Thursday morning. When Nathan Dixon, 9, brought the attendance sheet into the office for his teacher, he had no idea his mom, Navy Logistics Specialist 1st Class Pilar Arteaga, would be there to surprise him. “Mommy!” he cried as she

crept up behind him, drawing him into a close embrace and rocking him back and forth. “You have gotten taller,” Arteaga told him between pressing kisses on his forehead. Arteaga is part of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103, based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., which has been deployed on the USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) for the past six months. Originally scheduled for a nine-month

deployment, plans were changed and the ship returned to port in Norfolk, Va. earlier this week. Nathan wasn’t expecting to see his mom again until March, but Arteaga was able to take advantage of the change in the Eisenhower’s schedule and returned Wednesday to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island with Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140. Arteaga is a single parent

who must make arrangements for Nathan’s care while she is deployed. Nathan’s guardians, Mike and Judi Consolver, moved to Oak Harbor six months ago, following Mike’s retirement See REUNITED, A8

Whidbey News-Times, December 22, 2012  
Whidbey News-Times, December 22, 2012  

December 22, 2012 edition of the Whidbey News-Times