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Stranger gets Marines home for holidays
Chance meeting leads to 23-hour van trip to Colorado
Photo: Evan Samon
Chris Redlin, 21, hugs his sister, Ashley, after being returned to his Aurora home Thursday. In the background, Matt "Budd" Kible, 20, greets Chris' mother, Glenda Zimmerman. Redlin, Kible and two other Marines were driven from California by Navy veteran Paul Deines.
By Stuart Steers, Rocky Mountain News
December 22, 2006
As far as Stacey Kible is concerned, Santa drives a Ford Windstar.
Kible was despairing that her son Matt Kible, a 20-year-old Marine, would not make it home for Christmas. Matt, who is stationed in Japan, was stranded at San Francisco International Airport. He was told that he probably wouldn't be able to get a flight to Denver until Christmas Day.
Matt Kible met three fellow Marines at the airport, all of them trying to get back to Denver. Two were returning from Iraq.
The four young Marines commiserated that they might not be able to be with their families at Christmas. None of them was old enough to rent a car, and the blizzard that descended on Denver seemed about to ruin their plans.
"Our hopes and dreams were shot when they told us we couldn't get home for Christmas Eve," said Chris Redlin, a 21-year-old Marine from Aurora who is also stationed at Okinawa.
Then a stranger came bearing gifts.
"We thought we were out of luck, and then this guy named Paul, out of nowhere, just walked up to us," Matt Kible said. "He said he lives in Englewood and could rent a car."
The next thing they knew, Paul Deines and four Marines were in a van on their way to Colorado.
"I'm a veteran myself," said Deines, 50, who served in the Navy. "I know how it is, being away from home on Christmas. I said, 'Let's get together and do something about it.' "
Deines had been in San Francisco on vacation.
He said the group drove straight through for 23 hours to get back to Denver. They ran into snow at Glenwood Springs, but made it over Vail Pass and got into Denver on Thursday afternoon, just as the blizzard was ending.
"That's what happens when people get together and help each other out," Deines said.
For the Kible family of Centennial, Christmas this year will be especially meaningful because of the kindness of a stranger. "It was such a nice thing for Paul to do," Stacey Kible said. "He rented that van to get these boys home for Christmas. To me, that's truly the spirit of giving and the spirit of Christmas."