Army Sergeant Surprises Daughters After a Year’s Deployment in Afghanistan
Middle Schoolers Get A Sweet Surprise
What would have been a typical Friday morning at Baines Middle School turned into a morning of elation as U.S. Army Sergeant David Blalock surprised his daughters, Caitlyn and Camryn, with his return home from Afghanistan. The girls, in grades 6 and 7, had no idea their dad had returned home after a year-long deployment.
Blalock had contacted Baines Principal Jennifer Roberts to share his plan for reuniting with his daughters. He wanted to surprise them but needed help in working out the details. Roberts thought it was a great idea. She and Blalock solicited the help of the girls’ mother, Jennifer Snyder, and Broadcast teacher Angie Roberts in devising the perfect plan to reunite the girls with their father.
“It was my honor and the least I could do for his service to our country,” said Roberts. “When Sergeant Blalock called, I told him I was all in. However he wanted to do it, we would make it work.”
Together, Roberts and her staff devised a plan to have Blalock sneak into the school and deliver morning announcements while the girls watched from the school’s library.
The morning of the reunion, Roberts and her “secret agents” put the plan into motion. Only a few key people were aware of what was happening. As the first bell sounded and the hallways were cleared, Blalock stood in position outside the broadcast studio where he knew his daughter Caitlyn would be. As he waited outside one door, Caitlyn was escorted out the other, just a few feet from her father.
Roberts quickly led Caitlyn to the library for a “special assignment.” Once there, Caitlyn joined her sister, Camryn, who was sitting with her sixth-grade orchestra class in front of a projection screen.
To buy time while the Blalock girls were led to their designated areas, Principal Roberts made announcements on the PA system, one of which was a reminder of early dismissal. “Just remember that even though you’re here for only half a day, there’s still classroom work to do,” she said. “And I don’t know what some of you were thinking with your choice of clothing. The dress code still applies on half days.”
Following Roberts’ announcements, the school’s Stampede Studios production team host introduced the special guest who would lead the Pledge of Allegiance and moment of silence. Appearing on every single TV screen throughout the campus was Caitlyn and Camryn’s dad, U.S. Army Sergeant David Blalock. “I pledge allegiance to the flag,” Blalock said.
Caitlyn and Camryn watched with sheer excitement and disbelief as they wondered “Is that really Dad… here …at our school?”
The emotions ran high among the three family members as they raced along the school hallways to each other’s arms. Even though on crutches, Camryn kept up a good pace behind her big sister, Caitlyn. With only a short distance between them, the girls cried out, “Dad!” and the reunion began.
Blalock took his girls into his arms, and for what seemed like a lifetime, joined in a family hug to make up for their time apart. After a few minutes, Blalock lifted his head and shared one very important piece of news with his daughters, “I brought donuts.” Their tears of joy quickly turned to laughter.
When asked what she was thinking when she saw her dad, Caitlyn said, “When I saw the Army uniform on the screen, I thought that must be someone else. Then I heard my dad’s voice and my heart just dropped. I haven’t seen him in so long. I really missed him.”
Camryn admits it’s been hard for her while her dad was away. “My mom helped me feel better and I knew he was coming home so there was no need to cry,” she said. “Now that he’s back, he’ll probably spoil us because he hasn’t seen us in a year.” Camryn plans to spend as much time with her father as she can while he’s home.
“It was pretty awesome to see my daughters running to see me,” said Blalock. “This was a very surreal moment for me. I don’t really have to words to express how happy I am.”
“This has been one of the coolest things to make happen,” said Roberts. “You see this type of story on the news, but to see it live and in person, you almost can’t describe it. It makes you speechless and emotional. I’m so happy we could do this for the Blalock family.”