CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio — A year of separation came to an end for a father and son in Ohio.
Sgt. Perry Chronister had been deployed to the Middle East as part of the Ohio Army National Guard 107th Calvary Regiment, WKYC reported.
He got home in time to see his son Eli, 7, on the first day of school, but he didn’t do the traditional hug at the bus stop. Chronister instead donned DeWitt Elementary School’s tiger mascot costume and waltzed into his son’s classroom.
“One of the teachers had a great idea. They said, ‘How about you put on the mascot costume and we’ll have you come in and wave at the kids a little bit’ and we did the big reveal,” Chronister told WKYC.
Watch the moment when the sergeant walked into Eli’s second-grade class at the end of the day, bent down near his son’s desk and took off the tiger mask:
The school district also shared a video of the surprise, with the song “Home” by Daughtry playing in the background, with the simple message, “Welcome home, soldier! Thank you for your service,” WJW reported.