We've seen it on the national news and even, more recently, on our own local news. A military service member coming back from a long deployment overseas and coming to their child's school to surprise them. On February 3, that happened, times two.
U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Christy Diller returned from a seventh-month deployment in Kuwait and decided that she could not wait to see her children until the following Monday. She came into son Ryan's school, Vestal Hills Elementary, during a fourth-grade assembly. As the students worked on a character education exercise in the cafeteria, she hid behind the curtain on stage. The exercise was designed to help our students prioritize what's important in their lives. As they volunteered their answers to what they considered "big rocks" or the most important pieces of their lives, Ryan raised his hand. He said "Family Time" was one of the most important items on his list. Cue the curtain, and his mother came across the stage as Ryan ran into her arms.
We thank her for sharing her reunion with her son's fourth-grade classmates, so they can witness first-hand the sacrifices our military service men and women, and their families, make. Master Sgt. Diller took time to share her experience in the military with the students. After a quick party in Ryan's classroom it was off to the Vestal Middle School for another family reunion.
As Alyssa Diller quietly read in her seventh-grade Technology class, she had no idea that her mom was tiptoeing up behind her. A tap on the shoulder made her turn, and then turned back to her desk and tried to cover her tears. Quickly jumping up, she hugged her mother and, like Ryan just an hour before, didn't seem to want to let go.
Master Sgt. Diller, in a interview with WBNG reporter Justine Re commented that it's hard to be away for so long. She said that you see them in video chats, but it's not the same. "You come back," she said, "and they've grown taller, gotten bigger."
Many thanks to the Diller family for letting us share their joy. We wish them a very wonderful time together!