These siblings thought they would be given an award when they were honored at their elementary school assembly, but the prize behind the curtain was much better than they imagined.
Lynwood Avenue Elementary School students Andrew and Eva Stock were greeted by their U.S. Navy dad Jacob Stock, who surprised them with his return to Long Island, New York, after being stationed in the Persian Gulf for more than a year.
“I love my family,” Stock told WCBS. “It was tough being away.”
When he and his wife got news that he would be returning, they worked with school principal Danielle DeLorenzo to come up with a plan to surprise kindergartener Andrew and fourth-grader Eva.
DeLorenzo decided to hold an assembly and brought the young students onstage to honor them for their kindness, empathy and strength.
When it came time for Eva and Andrew to be presented with their prize, Stock appeared from behind the curtain and held his two kids in his arms.
“I love my children very much,” he said. “Obviously, I don’t want to let them go either, but I have my duty to my country.”