POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Sgt. 1st Class Terry White of the Missouri Army National Guard surprised his fifth grade daughter Aaryn Johnson with an early return home on Friday, Dec. 8, during an assembly held as a diversion at Poplar Bluff Middle School.
White returned with the 1-138th Infantry Regiment upon being deployed in the Arabian Peninsula of Qatar since February, his fourth tour of duty, according to his wife Alexsa.
He last saw Aaryn the day after Christmas of 2016.
"It's been a long year," he said simply, following an emotional reunion with his family.
The students were seated in the cafeteria listening to Assistant Principal Angie Jackson give a speech about expectations when Terry White walked out of the kitchen area from behind Aaryn
He tapped her on the shoulder and as soon as it registered who was standing before her through all the commotion of the students reacting, Aaryn gave her dad a welcoming hug.
"It just makes me feel so special," said Aaryn, when it occurred the entire assembly was organized for her.
The students in Aaryn's pod were treated to red, white and blue cupcakes before returning to class.
Later in the day, the couple surprised their eighth grade son Alex Clinton in a more low-key manner at Junior High.