AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - An Amarillo girl is reunited with her father after going a year without seeing him in person.
Like many children across the country, 2nd grader Ansley Rangel has a Christmas list. Some ask for toy planes, toy cars and toy figures, but she wanted something a little different.
This soldier she wanted, wasn't a toy.
Students at Western Plateau had an average Monday morning gearing up for Christmas break, including Ansley. And she doesn't know it, but she's about to receive the number one gift on her Christmas list.
Her Dad Josh has been in Italy, stationed in the Army and Ansley has not seen him in a year. Ansley looks up to Josh so much, she dressed up like him for Halloween and today, she read an essay aloud about how he has inspired her.
Little did she know he was waiting behind the blue curtain listening to her every word..
"I barely got in last night, so it was kind of hectic this morning to get it all planned in and get it together, but it ended up really nice I think," says Father Josh Rule. "Did you like it?"
It wasn't an easy surprise to keep.
"It was pretty difficult," says Ansley's Mother Breana. "Usually I like to share it with her because we like to kind of count down the days and do all that fun stuff, but it was really difficult so we actually send him a lot of care packages and so we were planning on sending him a care package, so she was getting things ready for that for no reason, but it was fine."
We asked Ansley what she asked Santa for this Christmas...
"I wanted my daddy back, I asked him for my Daddy," says Ansley. "I'm very excited."
Though a short trip as he will return to Italy on New Years Day, Josh says he plans on relaxing and enjoying Christmas with his family.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," says Josh. "People go their whole lives and don't have feelings that I feel right now, so it's amazing."
And we know many serving in the military do not all have the luxury of being home for the holidays, so here's to you all. Ansley has a special message to Josh, mirroring how many Americans feel about our troops.
"I miss him and that he's saving our world."
Ansley has a big test to take tomorrow, but teachers and faculty were understanding enough to allow her to make work up for the rest of the week while her hero is in town.