Soldier Returns-- Surprises Kids at School

Tallahassee, FL - Most surprises start with a great big yell and cheers.

But, Ms. Stokes' classroom at Canopy Oaks in Tallahassee was quiet as a mouse Tuesday.

Seven-year-old Zoee and her five year brother, Zane, spoke with their sniffles and hugs.

Their dad, SGT Brad Downey, surprised the siblings with his return from Afghanistan.

SGT Downey says, "It was just pure enjoyment, excitement, butterflies in the stomach. But it was such a great feeling. To see my daughter and my son and just love on them, it was the best thing you could ever ask for."

SGT Downey was deployed overseas for about ten months.

His wife, Sheila, says, "Just glad to have him home, have him safe, not to hear certain noises in the background when you're on the phone that would cause you to worry. I'm glad now my kids can go to bed and Daddy's good."

Mrs. Downey says community support helped her get by. She also got help around the house from her personal helper at home.

Zoee says, "When my room gets messed up and my mom tells me to clean my room, I clean it up. It's easy for me to make my bed, my room, everything."

That's when the real tears came. Mrs. Downey had to finish what Zoee was trying to say. "She always tells me that I was the best mommy in the world while daddy was gone."

The kids said the first thing they wanted their dad to do was fix the WII gaming system.

The family plans to go on vacation in about a week.

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