It is 11:15 Wednesday night and Merlin Poutre is all nerves, waiting for his wife, Catherine, to walk off the plane at any moment. "I'm just so incredible excited,” he said. “I probably slept for two hours last night."
He has a surprise she is not expecting. Kearns has been in the Middle East for six months. "Catherine is an outstanding officer, she's been deployed overseas in an Intel officer capacity and she finally gets to come home," said Lt. Col. Gary Smith.
Minutes are passing like hours, but Kearns finally arrives. “It's very dreamlike. I come off the plane and can see my husband in the distance,” she said. “I start waving and it's like a movie, as corny as that sounds."
The couple met in college and are just shy of their third anniversary.
Poutre surprised her with a pearl and diamond necklace and matching earrings.
A gift he was able to give thanks to a big prize, he won $5,000 dollars from Maharaja's through a raffle at an autism foundation fundraiser.
Poutre thought it would be the perfect touch for her homecoming, but she laughed and told him he was setting the bar too high.
"You know, you're just conditioning me to go away more often, if I come back to these great rewards,” she said. “Next time I get deployed, you'll have to follow it up with a pony, a circus."
Kearns does not know when her next deployment will be, but for now-she says she's just happy to be home.