Fort Stewart soldier surprises son at school following deployment
HINESVILLE, Ga. (WTOC) - While the war in Ukraine continues, Georgia soldiers deployed for a NATO support mission in Germany are starting to return home.
The first couple hundred soldiers arrived back at Fort Stewart last week. More than 3,000 were deployed from the First Armored Brigade combat team with the 3rd ID.
All of them will be home by the end of the month and that homecoming was extra sweet in Liberty County today. The Liberty County School System helped coordinate a surprise for one of their students.
One student at Frank Long Elementary got a very special surprise during what he thought was just a normal school day.
This first grade class filed into the Media Center for what they thought was going to be a special presentation on the pledge of allegiance. But they had an unexpected helper.
Sgt. 1st Class Cody Vance saw his five-year-old-son Carson for the first time in six months.
“I landed in Savannah around 4:30 this morning, and got to Stewart at about 6:50 this morning.”
And within hours of landing, Vance went straight to Carson’s school to surprise him.
“Carson, he’s waited so long. He’s been so patient, he’s seen so many other homecomings come and go, and so making today special for him, is just perfect. I can’t thank the staff here at FLE and the district enough for doing all this for our family,” said Kristina Vance, Carson’s mom.
Vance was deployed to Germany for six months, his fourth deployment overseas in around 13 years of service.
“Coming back and seeing him, seeing how much he’s grown already, just being back to be able to hang out with him and spend time with him, and just be a family again,” said Sgt. 1st Class Vance.
The special celebration made possible by teachers and staff members at Frank Long.
“This is what it’s about. Yes, there’s some sad days, but these days are some important days. These days we can put a smile on a child’s face and let the families know how important they are to Frank Long, it’s just very special and important to us,” said school counselor Isis Perez Rodriguez.
“Sharing this moment with the wonderful folks here at Frank Long who made this happen, is just incredible,” said deputy superintendent Zheadric Barbra.
As for what’s next for the father-son duo….
“What are we going to go do, bud? Play video games after we charge the controllers.”
A special morning that’s left Carson jumping for joy.
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