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Carrie Underwood surprises local military family with free concert in New York

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Theresa and Mario Jones got the star treatment Thursday evening at the Chaifetz Arena.

The couple came to see Carrie Underwood perform as part of her Storyteller Tour, but they got closer to the singer than they’d ever imagine.

She met with them personally.

“I think the best part was that she just thought we were really sweet people,” said Theresa Jones.

It was a special treat for the Jones’s who haven’t always had it easy. The two met while serving in the U.S. Navy – Theresa as an aviation electronics technician and Mario as an air crew rescue swimmer.

“God bless the men and women who do it,” Theresa said. “For me it was really difficult, that's why I’m a veteran and not currently active. It's so hard to be away from your family.”

A horrible car accident left Mario medically retired. They were struggling, living paycheck to paycheck. The couple and their three children reached out to Operation Homefront for help.

“They've done so much for us. They helped turn our life around,” Mario said.

The nonprofit organization gave them financial security, and with its help, the Jones family was able to buy a home in south St. Louis.

“It's so many people giving back and it feels amazing,” Mario said.

The meet and greet is part of Carnival Cruise Line’s Honor. Family. Fun. program, in partnership with Operation Homefront.

“It seemed such a great opportunity to say ‘thank you,’” Underwood said. “I'm lucky to be a part of country music and country music has always done a good job of honoring our military.”

And before Underwood left, she had one more surprise: a trip to see her perform on the Carnival Vista cruise ship in New York City this November, along with a thousand other military families.

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