The Spencer and Campbell families were more than just next door neighbors in Oklahoma. They became very close, and the Spencers had the chance to show the Campbells their appreciation for their support this Thanksgiving at the Walt Disney World in Florida.
One notable instance of Amy and Jeff Campbells’ support occurred after Lt. Jack Spencer, 43, a Judge Advocate General for the U.S. Air Force, volunteered to serve in Afghanistan, leaving his wife, Mindi, and their two daughters, Emilee and Abigail, behind in Oklahoma.
With a husband serving in a dangerous zone, Mindi Spencer, 37, was prepared get a call relaying bad news. However, she never prepared for something happening at home.
Her 9-year-old daughter, Emilee, was riding an ATV in Texas while on vacation with a friend in July of 2012 when the vehicle flipped. Emily sustained serious injuries that included a crushed foot.
“As details start coming in we find out that Emilee's in pretty serious trouble,” Mindi said.
With Jack was 7,500 miles away, Mindi rushed next door "in a panic," according to Amy Campbell, 37, and was helped by her neighbors.
“They took care of everything. Without question," Mindi said of the Campbells. "It was just, 'We've got this. You take care of what's important to you.'”
Jack made it home and was able to see Emilee in the hospital. After visiting her, he went home for a change of clothes and saw Jeff, 45, pitching in again.
“We pull in the driveway and he’s mowing the yard and I remember I got out and said, ‘Jeff you don't need to be doing this,’” Jack recalled. “And he's like, ‘You've got plenty of things to worry about. Don't worry about this.’"
Jeff Campbell said he and his wife always had a key to the Spencers’ home. Anytime the other couple left, the Campbells could "Just go to take care of things. Just make sure it was right.”
When Jack returned to Afghanistan, Emilee had come home but then her condition took a turn for the worse and she was rushed back to the hospital. Jack's friend Jeff was there for his family again.
"Soon as we got to the hospital, Jeff picks up Emilee and carried her in and doesn't let her go until we're inside the hospital and all settled in,” Mindi said.
Jack said there’s nothing he could do to repay his friends.
“There’s no way I could ever thank them,” he said.
Even though the Spencers moved away to Georgia in 2013, they never forgot their former neighbors. With the help of Walt Disney World, they were able to arrange a special thank you for the Campbells.
While at Disney World earlier this month, the Campbells attended a show of “Festival of the Lion King,” after which they were invited back to the theater for a special meeting with the cast.
Backstage, "Good Morning America" meteorologist Rob Marciano asked the family if they were having “an incredible vacation” at Disney World. They replied that they were.
“Well that's one of the reasons why you're here. But really, this is why you're here,” Marciano said.
That’s when the Spencers came out to reunite with the Campbells, after which both families retreated to Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Conservation Station to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast.
Jack was absent from the reunion because he had been in a serious car accident and wasn’t able to make the trip. He still wanted to convey his gratitude to his friends so he did it in a video message that the Campbells were able to watch.
“To good friends that are there when you need them,” Marciano said, proposing a toast. “Happy Thanksgiving everybody.”
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