Fresh home from Iraq, one soldier and his wife wanted to surprise their children with his arrival in a very special way.
Sergeant First Class Charles Bowen returned home from Iraq last night after 16 months of service overseas.
He and his wife Belinda wanted to surprise their kids, Kelsey and Landi, but when everyone got word, what was going to be a simple surprise grew in to something much larger at Sleepy Hollow Elementary School.
"We just wanted to pick up the kids from school and surprise them. It grew from there, everyone was happy, everyone was back safe, and it just grew into this," said Sgt. Bowen
Belinda told the kids she had to go out of town on business as she went to pick Charles up with their two-year-old son Trey.
The plan was to call an assembly of the entire Sleepy Hollow Elementary School, and pose a fake drawing to open a large present containing what else, but Sgt. Bowen.
The bait was set and the girls were ready to dig into a present they had no idea, would contain the most special gift they have ever received.
The bait was set, and the girls found their dad inside the box.
They hugged on the stage for several minutes crying and rejoicing.
"He was just asking us if we were happy he was back. It just felt so good," Kelsey sobbed just minutes after seeing her dad.
The family plans on having their Christmas and enjoying their time together.
"We're just going to enjoy our family and not think about what is in the future, but what's here today," promised Belinda.