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Military father surprises children, wife at school after 10-month deployment

Posted at 5:16 PM, Nov 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-07 19:35:49-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An emotional reunion brought tears to one young family’s eyes Tuesday at Fox Hill Elementary School in North Kansas City.

Wife Rachael Sanchez was expecting her husband, army reservist Eben Sanchez, back from his service in Afghanistan on Friday.

Little did she know when the assistant teacher was asked to supervise the cafeteria over lunch, she would see her husband for the first time in 10 months.

“I just thought it would be cool to shock them instead of meeting at the airport. I've always had it in my mind to surprise my family when I come home,” said Eben Sanchez.

Sanchez said she was looking forward to Friday.

“Today wasn't even on my radar,” said Rachael Sanchez. “I was so shocked I've had so much anxiety and anticipation for this moment that when it was actually here, I couldn't believe it was happening.”

Sanchez was not alone in her shock in the cafeteria. Marley, 8, is in the third grade at Fox Hill and was in the middle of lunch.

“I thought it was all a dream because we thought he wasn't going to be here for Veteran's Day which made us so sad. It’s kind of hard to not be able to have your dad with you because my dad has always been my hero,” said Marley Sanchez.

Marley was joined by sister Faith who is just two years old. Sanchez said this deployment was more difficult than his first one.

“You think about this moment from the day you leave,” said Sanchez. “You miss your family when you're out there. We're brothers and sisters out there fighting for the same cause. But this is why I serve my country -- to protect them so they don't have to do it.”

Sanchez said he was hungry and the first thing he wanted to do was eat with his family.

Wife Rachael Sanchez said lots of hugs and kisses were coming to her husband.