It's a school day like many others at John Paul II elementary in Mitchell: teachers teaching, hallways full of energetic students, and for the younger kids, an afternoon snack. An afternoon assembly just fits right in.
"Boys and girls, and teachers, October is BookIt month, so we will be having a short assembly at 2:30 in the multi-purpose room. We'll see you there," announced the principal.
But, for two brothers and their cousin, today is a very special day.
"I've known for about a week that he was coming home, and we were going to surprise them. It's been hard for not to say nothing to them," said Kathy Axsom.
Her husband, Petty Officer First Class Jerry Axsom, had been deployed to Afghanistan and Germany the past year.
"(I) started getting nervous on the plane ride getting here because I haven't been here since December of last year," said Jerry Axsom.
The afternoon assembly is the perfect setup for the surprise, as the school is reading a book about a soldier.
With anticipation building in the hallway, the big surprise is going according the plan.
10-year-old Kaden Axsom was telling the assemble about his dad, "He sent a picture of what his hotel looks like."
Suddenly, his dad's arms were around him and he was asking, "How ya doing buddy?!"
It took a moment for Kaden to make sure his eyes weren't deceiving him.
"He tapped me on the shoulder and I looked behind and I was like oh!"
Added Kathy, "It was amazing to see his reaction. It's everything that I wanted."
What started as a pretty normal school day turned into the best day for this family.
"I was just so happy that their dad is home. They have him back, and I cried."
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