Third-Grader Sprints Into National Guardsman Dad's Arms as He Surprises Her After a Year Overseas

Playing National Guardsman Returns Home to Surprise Daughter, 8, at School Assembly

It was an emotional scene at a Maine elementary school as a deployed dad surprised his daughter in the middle of an assembly.

Third-grader Isabella Clayton hasn’t seen her dad, Maine Army National Guard Sgt. Kevin Clayton, in nearly a year.

"I was deployed in Afghanistan," Sgt. Clayton told WAGM. "I've been gone away from home since early August and I just got home in Aroostook County a couple of days ago."

That was why Isabella could hardly believe her eyes when her dad suddenly walked into the Teague Park Elementary School gym during their assembly.

The young girl could be heard whispering, "Dad?" before running through the rows of her seated classmates and straight into her dad's arms.

"My dad's been gone overseas for a year and I really miss him," Isabella said.

With summer vacation coming up, the pair is now looking forward to catching up on lost time.

"It's half the battle, part of being deployed as a National Guardsman," he said. "When you get activated, along with the job stress, being away from the family is certainly the hardest thing."

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