CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — It was supposed to be just another day of class at Cosby High School. The students were told the media was there to cover their teacher.

Sophomore Caroline Prekker sits quietly next to her sister Lindsay, who is a student at Old Dominion University. She’s been invited to be a guest speaker. The topic for today’s class is health care for veterans and how it affects families.

Lindsay and Caroline’s mom, who has been deployed for a year in Iraq, has also been invited to be a guest speaker. She’s set to Skype with the class, but there’s a technical issue, or so the girls think; their mom is hiding in the back.

“I stood behind the column and I started tearing up I almost started crying because I was just so excited and I was like, ‘let’s get this over with I want to see them,'” U.S. Army Colonel Beth Prekker said.

“I knew that my dad was supposed to be here, so I was keeping an eye out for him and I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw him and it didn’t even register that she was there,” added Lindsay Prekker.

“She just jumped up and then I think Caroline reacted to the fact that Lindsay was jumping out of her chair,” the Army mom recalled.

“She didn’t even know what was going on,” Lindsay said.

“I was honestly extremely confused,” admitted Caroline.

It was a tearful reunion for mom and both girls. It’s the fifth deployment between their mother and father they’ve had to deal with, and when asked what the most difficult part has been, they say their absences.

“Just not having them around,” Lindsay said.

“Going through the big stuff and not being able to have them with you,” Caroline added.

“People don’t realize how much physical touch plays in your emotions and to be able to hold on to somebody that I love so dearly that I missed so much, I mean you can see Caroline and I are still linked,” Beth said.

Family and friends were relieved they didn’t have to keep the surprise a secret anymore.

“It’s one of those things, it doesn’t matter how many times you do this, it’s always new and it’s a great welcome, it’s always fun,” said Beth’s husband, Rick Prekker.

Colonel Prekker says while time has been precious; their family always makes it count.

“The time that we are together we make sure that it’s quality time so we’ve definitely made the most of it,” said Prekker.

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