STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Half a dozen children in Stafford County had a heartwarming surprise Tuesday morning after their parents planned a “sweet and emotional” reunion.
For the past 18 years, students at Park Ridge Elementary have celebrated men and women in the military with a special Veterans Day program. But on Tuesday, six students inside the school were recognized with an incredible surprise.
For the Doolin children, this year’s program would be the first one without their father, Army Staff Sergeant Casey Doolin, as he was stationed thousands of miles away in South Korea.
Their mother, Katie Doolin, began planning the reunion when she saw how sad her children were preparing for a Veterans Day assembly without their father.
“In that moment, I was just ‘we have to bring him home.’ It’s been six months. It would be the perfect time to … he has to be here. He has never missed this. This is a special thing for us, for the family, for the kids. We have to make this happen,” Katie Doolin said.
Sgt. Casey Doolin was able to make the trip back home and surprise his children Tuesday morning.
“It was overwhelming,” Sgt. Casey Doolin recalled. “I think I was more surprised than they were when I walked up. That’s the first time that they’ve ever sat that still.”
Sgt. Doolin was rewarded with hugs and kisses, which tops military pay any day.