Emotional Homecoming At South Edmonson Today
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
A second grade student was surprised by his mother today at South Edmonson Elementary when she returned unannounced from a nine-month deployment.
Parker Treece, a student in Mrs. Lauren Alford's class, jumped into his mother's arms as she appeared from a hidden compartment in the gym while students, teachers, administration, and staff fought back tears. Well, many fought the tears, but most were unsuccessful.
First Army Lieutenant Molly Treece, who had been deployed to Kuwait and stationed at Camp Arifjan, was able to return home, at least for now. With the help of staff members at SEES, everyone managed to pull off the surprise today.
Lt. Treece, who was still wiping tears, discussed surprising Parker with the secret homecoming.
"He had no idea. Everything changes on a daily basis out there so I didn't want to tell him and get his hopes up. I thought it would be better to just keep it hush-hush, but the school surprised me with all of this because I wasn't expecting such a big to-do, but I greatly appreciate this. I know he did, too because he was very surprised."
SEES Principal Josh Long said it took a little doing to make sure the event was a surprise. Students were brought into the gym for a "special meeting," where Mr. Long recognized some students for various reasons while Lt. Treece was positioned in a hiding place.
Long said that Parker had mentioned a couple different times during the school year that he would like to have Mr. Long's autograph, for whatever reason. Just as students thought their program was over, Long asked Parker to stand up so he could accommodate his autograph request, as he signed a piece of paper and gave to him.
When asked what Parker thought about the autograph after the celebration had ended, Mr. Long said, "He gave it back to me. He told me he was just being sarcastic."
Long said it was a special day at SEES.
"I can't even explain it or I'll start crying again," joked Mr. Long. "To see this in person, when a parent comes back from serving in the military, with us having their child all year and taking care of that child here, and their grandparents taking care of them at home, it was just amazing to see this and be part of this today."
Lt. Treece, who has served in the army for 11 years thanked everyone that made the day possible.
"I haven't seen him in 9 months and he's my only baby," she said. "Nothing can take the place of physically being here and taking care of your son, but I'm above and beyond grateful for everyone putting this together and helping. They took it upon themselves to put it together without me even knowing and I appreciate it."
Lt. Treece also was able to reunite with her sister, fourth grader Marlee Treece, who is in Mrs. Heather White's class.