Veterans Day surprise: Mom returns home

November 13, 2018

Holland Elementary School third-grader Hailey White thought she glimpsed her mother : deployed since January : on campus Monday, but she didn’t know for certain until the school’s Veterans Day program.

After the Pledge of Allegiance and a patriotic tune sung by fifth-graders, Principal J.R. Ankenbruck introduced several veterans in attendance, including three who served in World War II. He then invited Hailey and her brother, first-grader Liam White, to join him.

“We have one more special recognition,” Ankenbruck said.

Hailey immediately spotted her mother, Amanda Story of the U.S. Army National Guard, walking through the doors.

“Mommy!” the girl said, rushing into her mother’s arms.

The surprise reunion was the last of four in Fort Wayne Community Schools on Monday. Along with Story : who also greeted a daughter at Jefferson Middle School and a son at Northrop High School : Britney Bullock of the U.S. Army National Guard surprised her daughters at Shambaugh Elementary School.

Such experiences are “neat for everyone” at the schools, FWCS spokeswoman Krista Stockman said. She noted it is unusual to have so many in one day.

“It’s a good day to do it, though,” Stockman said.

With classmates and teachers watching, Hailey and Liam hugged their mother together on the gym floor. Story was stationed in Kuwait.

“It’s been an emotional day,” Story said.

Story, whose brigade returned home Saturday, wanted to surprise her children at school to make it “more memorable for them,” she said.


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