This Thanksgiving will be one that many families won’t want to remember, but for the Parisee family, it will be a Thanksgiving they will never forget thanks to a food delivery and a Marine’s clever idea.

Westport native Steven Parisee has been in the U.S. Marine Corps. for over six years, so getting home for the holidays is never easy. Steven’s mother, Christine, didn’t expect a knock on the door this holiday season due to COVID-19, so she was prepared to have an empty chair on Thanksgiving.

Steven had told his mother that he won a contest through the United Service Organizations (USO) that she would be receiving a delivery from Peapod, supplying her entire Thanksgiving meal. It was believable because Stop & Shop supports the organization often. What Steven neglected to tell her, however, was that he would be the one to drop it off.

“My job was to keep mom, the kids, and his brother at home,” said Erin Parisee, Steven's sister-in-law. “He wanted me to be in on the secret, but he needed help, so I knew about the surprise a week and a half ago.”

I could hear in Erin’s voice as we chatted over the phone how excited she was to relive this special moment.

“All my mom knew was to be home for a Peapod delivery," she said. "She seems to always have a hunch, but because of COVID, she wasn’t expecting to see him. She had no clue.”

Erin explained that the USO hand-selected Steven to deliver an entire Thanksgiving meal to his mother, with the help of Peapod. They paid for his entire trip and helped him pull off the big surprise as Steven walked down his street, hiding under his hat.

Courtesy Erin Parisee

His mother’s reaction says it all. It took her a minute to realize, but when Steven sarcastically said, "Really mom?" the joy in her face and her big belly laugh lit up the entire neighborhood.

The USO was able to give the gift of family this year and Steven was able to give the gift of a pleasant surprise.

I have a feeling that this Westport family will cherish this Thanksgiving for many years to come.

Check out the surprise below, thanks to Steven's wife, Eve:

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