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Dad Surprises Daughter After 18 Months in Iraq



While Akhai, a shy fifth-grader, was sitting in North Saginaw Charter Academy’s all-school assembly for Teacher Appreciation Week, everyone in the packed gym knew a secret except her.
Within minutes she found out what it was - her dad, dressed in his military uniform, walked through the doors.
She immediately got up from her seat, worked her way through her classmates sitting in front of her, and started running from the back of the gym toward her father. With tears streaming down their faces, they embraced.
Akhai’s dad served overseas for the past 18 months and was not expected to return for another few weeks.
Despite texting and Facetiming each week, it wasn’t the same as being together, they both agreed.
“She has grown taller and has become more mature,” said Akhai’s dad, looking at his daughter after the assembly. “I really wanted to surprise her and this was outstanding.
“In 2011 I did the same thing and surprised Akhai when she was in kindergarten,” he said. “We got the same reaction back then, except on a smaller scale. We went to her classroom. I was not expecting this much attention.”
This time, it took Akhai’s dad longer than expected to get to Saginaw. He was supposed to arrive on Monday, but was delayed in Germany, Texas, and New Hampshire. When he finally arrived in Michigan one piece of luggage was missing.
“I only have my military uniforms with me right now,” he said. “But, it’s good to be home with family.”
Dad and daughter N.saginaw 2.JPG


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