TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa second grader received the ultimate surprise Friday at her school assembly. Her dad, Army service member Rafael Sanchez just returned home from service training.

Claywell Elementary student Coral Pena thought Friday’s school assembly was just honoring local veterans but when her dad came out, she ran and gave him a giant hug. The two were greeted with applause from classmates and veterans in attendance.

“I’m blessed to be able to be a part of this,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez had been away for six months and was able to keep the big reveal a surprise thanks to family.

“I wasn’t able to be here for her birthday this year,” Sanchez said. “That was the first birthday I ever missed so being here now, just being able to spend time with my family is a beautiful thing.”  

Sanchez will get to spend time with family for two weeks before returning to training.

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