BALDWIN, New York -Students, staff and parents erupted in cheers as little Brooke Reyes’ jaw dropped the moment she saw her military father, who was previously deployed in Dubai, walk into her school’s gymnasium Friday.
Brooke’s school staged a Veteran’s Day lesson so 35-year-old Jason Reyes could surprise his first-grader. Before the homecoming, a teacher called Brooke to the front of the gym and asked her about her father.
“My dad is a veteran, that he does so hard and that I miss him a lot and that he helps our country,” she told her classmates.
In fact, Jason Reyes had just finished his second deployment serving in the United States Air Force as a staff sergeant. In Dubai, not only did he miss Brooke’s first day of school, but he wasn’t around for the birth of his newest daughter, Bianca, who was born in August.
“I held her, and I just started crying,” he told reporters. “My words, my emotions, everything — everything was just gone. I was just crying.”
Sgt. Reyes will be on leave from the Air Force for at least the next two years, and he’s got a lot to look forward to. Brooke said she has big plans for her dad, including many piggy back rides.